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Virginia Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies

What are the Virginia laws and regulations that cover bullying?

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

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

"Bullying" means any aggressive and unwanted behavior that is intended to harm, intimidate, or humiliate the victim; involves a real or perceived power imbalance between the aggressor or aggressors and victim; and is repeated over time or causes severe emotional trauma. "Bullying" includes cyber bullying. "Bullying" does not include ordinary teasing, horseplay, argument, or peer conflict.

Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-276.01 (2018)

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

No, Virginia anti-bullying laws do not cover off-campus conduct.

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

Virginia school districts must include policies and procedures that prohibit bullying in district codes of student conduct.  School district policies must be consistent with the standards for school board policies on bullying and the use of electronic means for purposes of bullying developed by the state board.

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

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

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

Yes. Virginia anti-bullying laws require districts to establish character education programs that include content addressing the inappropriateness of bullying.

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

Yes. Virginia anti-bullying laws direct the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety to provide training for Virginia public school personnel in school safety, on evidence-based antibullying tactics, based on the definition of bullying in state law, and in the effective identification of students who may be at risk for violent behavior and in need of special services or assistance.

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

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

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

Yes. Virginia anti-bullying laws direct the principal of each school to notify the parent of any student involved in an alleged incident of bullying of the status of any investigation within five school days of the allegation of bullying.

For More Information

Visit the Virginia Department of Education “Bullying Prevention” webpage and/or view the Virginia 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