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New York Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies

What are the New York laws and regulations that cover bullying?

How are bullying and cyberbullying defined in New York anti-bullying laws and regulations?

New York anti-bullying laws and regulations include the following definitions of harassment, bullying, and cyberbullying:

“Harassment” and “bullying” shall mean the creation of a hostile environment by conduct or by threats, intimidation or abuse, including cyberbullying, that (a) has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional or physical well-being; or (b) reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety; or (c) reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause physical injury or emotional harm to a student; or (d) occurs off school property and creates or would foreseeably create a risk of substantial disruption within the school environment, where it is foreseeable that the conduct, threats, intimidation or abuse might reach school property. Acts of harassment and bullying shall include, but not be limited to, those acts based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex. For the purposes of this definition the term “threats, intimidation or abuse” shall include verbal and non-verbal actions.

“Cyberbullying” shall mean harassment or bullying as defined in subdivision seven of this section, including paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d) of such subdivision, where such harassment or bullying occurs through any form of electronic communication.

NY CLS Educ § 11 (2012)

Do New York anti-bullying laws and regulations cover cyberbullying that occurs off-campus?

Yes. New York anti-bullying laws cover off-campus conduct that creates or would foreseeably create a risk of substantial disruption within the school environment, where it is foreseeable that the conduct, threats, intimidation or abuse might reach school property.

What are the policy requirements for schools to prevent and respond to bullying behavior?

New York school districts must establish and implement policies, procedures, and guidelines to create a school environment that is free from harassment, bullying and discrimination. School district policies must contain key policy and procedural elements, including, but not limited to:

  • Designation of a school employee responsible for receiving reports of harassment, bullying, and discrimination;
  • Procedures for reporting, investigations, and documentation;
  • Requirements for the school to take prompt actions reasonably calculated to end the harassment, bullying or discrimination, eliminate any hostile environment, create a more positive school culture and climate, prevent recurrence of the behavior, and ensure the safety of the student or students against whom such harassment, bullying or discrimination was directed;
  • Prohibitions against retaliation against any individual who reports harassment, bullying or discrimination;
  • Strategies to prevent harassment, bullying and discrimination;
  • Requirements for notification of law enforcement for any incident of harassment, bullying, or discrimination that constitutes criminal conduct; and
  • Requirements for how the district policy will be publicized within the district.

New York anti-bullying laws require districts to regularly report data and trends related to harassment, bullying and discrimination to the superintendent.

Do New York anti-bullying laws and regulations include protections for specific groups?

Yes. New York anti-bullying laws prohibit acts of harassment and bullying that include, but are not limited to, acts based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex.

New York schools that receive federal funding are required by federal law to address discrimination on a number of different personal characteristics. Find out when bullying may be a civil rights violation.

Do New York anti-bullying laws and regulations encourage or require districts to implement bullying prevention programs or strategies?

Yes. New York school district policies must include a school strategy to prevent harassment, bullying and discrimination. New York school districts may provide students in grades kindergarten through twelve, instruction designed to promote the proper and safe use of the internet and must implement school safety plans that include strategies for improving communication among staff and students concerned with bullying. New York school districts must also include content addressing awareness and sensitivity to harassment, bullying, discrimination in instructional programs on civility, citizenship, and character education.

Do New York anti-bullying laws and regulations encourage or require districts to train teachers and other school staff on how to respond to bullying incidents?

Yes. New York school district policies must include guidelines to be used in school training programs to discourage the development of harassment, bullying and discrimination, and to make school employees aware of the effects of harassment, bullying, cyberbullying and discrimination on students. Training programs must be designed:

    a. to raise the awareness and sensitivity of school employees to potential harassment, bullying and discrimination, and

    b. to enable employees to prevent and respond to harassment, bullying and discrimination.

Do New York anti-bullying laws and regulations encourage or require districts to provide safeguards or mental health supports for students involved with bullying?

Yes. New York school district policies must include guidelines relating to the development of nondiscriminatory instructional and counseling methods and require that at least one staff member at every school be thoroughly trained to handle human relations in the areas of race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, and sex.

Do New York anti-bullying laws and regulations involve parents in efforts to address bullying behavior?

No. New York anti-bullying laws do not create expectations for parent involvement in addressing bullying.

For More Information

Visit the New York Department of Education “The Dignity Act” webpage and/or view the New York state model policy on bullying and harassment.

The key component framework used in the analysis of state laws is based on the review of legislation presented in the “Analysis of State Bullying Laws and Policies – December 2011” (U.S. Department of Education).

 

Content last updated on June 22, 2017