Vermont

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Vermont Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies

What are the Vermont laws and regulations that cover bullying?

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

Vermont anti-bullying laws and regulations include the following definitions of bullying and harassment:

"Bullying" means any overt act or combination of acts, including an act conducted by electronic means, directed against a student by another student or group of students and that:

(A)  is repeated over time;

(B)  is intended to ridicule, humiliate, or intimidate the student; and

(C)

    (i)  occurs during the school day on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored activity, or before or after the school day on a school bus or at a school-sponsored activity; or

    (ii)  does not occur during the school day on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored activity and can be shown to pose a clear and substantial interference with another student's right to access educational programs.

"Harassment" means an incident or incidents of verbal, written, visual, or physical conduct, including any incident conducted by electronic means, based on or motivated by a student's or a student's family member's actual or perceived race, creed, color, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability that has the purpose or effect of objectively and substantially undermining and detracting from or interfering with a student's educational performance or access to school resources or creating an objectively intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.

"Harassment" includes conduct that violates subdivision (A) of this subdivision (26) and constitutes one or more of the following:

    (i)  Sexual harassment, which means conduct that includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, written, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature when one or both of the following occur:

        (I)  Submission to that conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a student's education.

        (II) Submission to or rejection of such conduct by a student is used as a component of the basis for decisions affecting that student.

    (ii)  Racial harassment, which means conduct directed at the characteristics of a student's or a student's family member's actual or perceived race or color, and includes the use of epithets, stereotypes, racial slurs, comments, insults, derogatory remarks, gestures, threats, graffiti, display, or circulation of written or visual material, and taunts on manner of speech and negative references to racial customs.

    (iii)  Harassment of members of other protected categories, which means conduct directed at the characteristics of a student's or a student's family member's actual or perceived creed, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability and includes the use of epithets, stereotypes, slurs, comments, insults, derogatory remarks, gestures, threats, graffiti, display, or circulation of written or visual material, taunts on manner of speech, and negative references to customs related to any of these protected categories.

16 V.S.A. § 11 (2015)

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

Yes. Vermont anti-bullying laws cover off-campus conduct that does not occur during the school day on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored activity and can be shown to pose a clear and substantial interference with another student's right to access educational programs.

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

Vermont school districts are required to adopt separate policies addressing harassment, hazing, and bullying prevention. School district bullying prevention policies must contain key policy and procedural elements, including, but not limited to:

  • Statements prohibiting bullying as defined in state law;
  • Procedures for reporting and investigations;
  • Descriptions of the circumstances under which bullying may be reported to a law enforcement agency;
  • Disciplinary consequences and appropriate remedial actions for students who commit bullying;
  • Descriptions of how the school board will ensure that teachers and other staff members receive training in preventing, recognizing, and responding to bullying; and
  • Designation of two or more people at each school campus to receive bullying complaints.

Vermont anti-bullying laws state that any school board that fails to adopt one or more of the prescribe policies shall be presumed to have adopted the most current model policy or policies published by the Secretary.

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

Yes. Vermont anti-bullying laws prohibit harassment that is based on or motivated by a student's or a student's family member's actual or perceived race, creed, color, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

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

Yes. Vermont anti-bullying laws require school boards to use discretion in developing and initiating age-appropriate programs to inform students about the substance of the bullying prevention policy and procedures to help prevent harassment, hazing, and bullying. School boards are encouraged to foster opportunities for conversations between and among students regarding tolerance and respect. Vermont school districts are also required to adopt a continuous quality improvement plan that includes strategies and supports to ensure the school maintains a safe, orderly, civil and positive learning environment which is free from harassment, hazing and bullying.

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

Yes. Vermont school district policies must include a description of how the school board will ensure that teachers and other staff members receive training in preventing, recognizing, and responding to bullying. 

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

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

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

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

For More Information

Visit the Vermont Agency of Education’s “School Climate”  webpage and/or view the Vermont state model policy and state model procedures 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