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Utah Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies

What are the Utah and regulations that cover bullying?

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

Utah anti-bullying laws and regulations include the following definitions of bullying, cyber-bullying, and harassment:

"Bullying" means intentionally or knowingly committing an act that:

(1)

    (a)  endangers the physical health or safety of a school employee or student;

    (b)  involves any brutality of a physical nature such as whipping, beating, branding, calisthenics, bruising, electric shocking, placing of a harmful substance on the body, or exposure to the elements;

    (c)  involves consumption of any food, liquor, drug, or other substance;

    (d)  involves other physical activity that endangers the physical health and safety of a school employee or student; or

    (e)  involves physically obstructing a school employee's or student's freedom to move; and

(2)  is done for the purpose of placing a school employee or student in fear of:

    (a)  physical harm to the school employee or student; or

    (b)  harm to property of the school employee or student.

(3)  The conduct described in R277-613-1B constitutes bullying, regardless of whether the person against whom the conduct is committed directed, consented to, or acquiesced in, the conduct.

(4)  Bullying is commonly understood as aggressive behavior that:

    (a)  is intended to cause distress and harm;

    (b)  exists in a relationship in which there is an imbalance of power and strength; and

    (c)  is repeated over time.

"Cyber-bullying" means using the Internet, a cell phone, or another device to send or post text, video, or an image with the intent or knowledge, or with reckless disregard, that the text, video, or image will hurt, embarrass, or threaten an individual, regardless of whether the individual directed, consented to, or acquiesced in the conduct, or voluntarily accessed the electronic communication.

"Harassment" means repeatedly communicating to another individual, in an objectively demeaning or disparaging manner, statements that contribute to a hostile learning or work environment for the individual.

Utah Code Ann. § 53G-9-601 (2018)

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

Yes. Utah anti-bullying laws cover off-campus conduct by prohibiting cyberbullying at any time or at any location.

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

Utah school districts must adopt a policy addressing bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, abusive conduct, and retaliation. School district policies must contain key policy and procedural elements, including, but not limited to:

  • Definitions of bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, and abusive conduct that are consistent with definitions in state law;
  • Prohibitions against bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, abusive conduct, retaliation, and false reporting;
  • Requirements for parent notification of incidents of bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, abusive conduct, and retaliation, or of a student’s threats of suicide;
  • Grievance processes for school employees;
  • Action plans to address a reported incident of bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, or retaliation;
  • Requirements for how the policy will be publicized within the district; and
  • Statements of consequences for violation of the policy.

Utah anti-bullying laws require districts to report annually to the State Board of Education on the school board’s policy, training of school employees, and other related information.

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

No. There are no specific groups listed under Utah anti-bullying laws or regulations.

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

Yes. Utah anti-bullying laws encourage districts to implement programs or initiatives to provide for training and education regarding the prevention of bullying, hazing, abusive conduct, and retaliation.

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

Yes. Utah anti-bullying laws require districts to provide training to school employees regarding bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, abusive conduct, and retaliation. School boards may also offer voluntary training to parents and students regarding abusive conduct.

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

No.  Utah anti-bullying laws do not require districts to provide safeguards or mental health supports for students involved with bullying.

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

Yes. Utah school district policies must be developed with input from students, parents, teachers, school administrators, school staff, or local law enforcement agencies and must include provisions to notify the parents of each student involved in an incident of bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, abusive conduct, or retaliation. Utah school districts are also encouraged to implement seminars for parents that address bullying and other behavioral health issues.

For More Information

Visit the Utah State Board of Education “Supporting Safe and Positive Utah Schools” webpage and/or view the Utah 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 20, 2017