Components of State Anti-Bullying Laws and Regulations
|District policy requirement||Yes|
|Reporting and investigations||Yes|
|Communication of policy||Yes|
|Safeguards and supports||Yes|
|Review and update of local policies||No|
Which Alabama laws and regulations cover bullying?
- Alabama Code §16-1-23. Hazing prohibited; penalty
- Alabama Code §16-28-3.1. Guidelines and procedures for withdrawal from school; dropout prevention program
- Alabama Code §16-28B-1. Short title
- Alabama Code §16-28B-2. Legislative intent
- Alabama Code §16-28B-3. Definitions
- Alabama Code §16-28B-4. Prohibited behavior; complaints; school plans or programs
- Alabama Code §16-28B-5. Model policy
- Alabama Code §16-28B-6. Duties of schools
- Alabama Code §16-28B-7. Freedoms of speech and expression
- Alabama Code §16-28B-8. Suicide prevention programs, training, and policies; advisory committee; liability
- Alabama Code §16-28B-9. Adoption of local policies
How are bullying and cyberbullying defined in Alabama anti-bullying laws and regulations?
Alabama anti-bullying laws include the following definitions of bullying and cyberbullying:
"Bullying" is a continuous pattern of intentional behavior that takes place on or off of school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored function including, but not limited to, cyberbullying or written, electronic, verbal, or physical acts that are reasonably perceived as being motivated by any characteristic of a student, or by the association of a student with an individual who has a particular characteristic, if the characteristic falls into one of the categories of personal characteristics contained in the model policy adopted by the department or by a local board, and implemented at each school. To constitute bullying, a pattern of behavior may do any of the following:
- Place a student in reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or damage to his or her property.
- Have the effect of substantially interfering with the educational performance, opportunities, or benefits of a student.
- Have the effect of substantially disrupting or interfering with the orderly operation of the school, whether the conduct occurs on or off school property, online, or electronically.
- Have the effect of creating a hostile environment in the school, on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored function.
- Have the effect of being sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive enough to create an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student.
Ala. Code § 16-28B-3 (2018)
Do Alabama anti-bullying laws and regulations cover cyberbullying that occurs off-campus?
Yes. Alabama anti-bullying laws cover conduct that occurs on or off school property.
What are the policy requirements for schools to prevent and respond to bullying behavior?
Alabama school districts must adopt a policy prohibiting bullying, intimidation, violence, and threats of violence. District policies should contain key policy and procedural elements that are consistent with the state model policy content, including, but not limited to:
- Statements prohibiting bullying, violence, and threats of violence;
- Definitions of the terms bullying, intimidation, and threats of violence;
- Descriptions of the behavior expected of each student;
- Disciplinary consequences for violations of the policy;
- Procedures for reporting, investigation, and response;
- Statements prohibiting reprisal or retaliation;
- Disciplinary consequences for false accusations;
- Procedures for publicizing the local board policy;
- Procedures for students to use in reporting bullying incidents; and
- Procedures for the development of a non-exhaustive list of personal characteristics of a student which may often lead to bullying.
Alabama anti-bullying laws require local school boards to report statistics on the number of submitted reports of violence, threats of violence, and harassment to the state for posting on the department website.
Do Alabama anti-bullying laws and regulations include protections for specific groups?
Yes. Alabama anti-bullying laws prohibit acts that are reasonably perceived as being motivated by any characteristic of a student, or by the association of a student with an individual who has a particular characteristic, if the characteristic falls into one of the categories of personal characteristics contained in the model policy adopted by the department or by a local board and implemented at each school.
Alabama schools that receive federal funding are required by federal law to address discrimination based on certain personal characteristics. Find out when bullying may be a civil rights violation.
Do Alabama anti-bullying laws and regulations encourage or require districts to implement bullying prevention programs or strategies?
Yes. Alabama schools must develop and implement evidence-based practices to promote a school environment that is free from harassment, intimidation, violence, and threats of violence; to prevent harassment, intimidation, violence, and threats of violence; and to intervene when such incidents occur. Schools must also incorporate information on bullying policies into civility, citizenship, and character education curricula to promote awareness and sensitivity.
Do Alabama anti-bullying laws and regulations encourage or require districts to train teachers and other school staff on how to respond to bullying incidents?
Yes. Alabama school districts must provide training for school employees and volunteers who have significant contact with students on local board policies to prevent harassment, intimidation, violence, and threats of violence.
Alabama school districts must also programmatically address the issue of bullying and school violence with students and faculty at the beginning of each school year. Programs must include discussion of available resources and encourage reporting of bullying incidents. Schools must also periodically convene a committee of faculty and students to review and discuss the issue of bullying and make recommendations to school administrators regarding school climate, safety, and bullying.
Do Alabama anti-bullying laws and regulations encourage or require districts to provide safeguards or mental health supports for students involved with bullying?
Yes. Alabama school districts must make referral, crisis intervention, and other related information available for students, parents, and school personnel as part of bullying and suicide prevention efforts.
Do Alabama anti-bullying laws and regulations involve parents in efforts to address bullying behavior?
No. Alabama anti-bullying laws do not create expectations for parent involvement in addressing bullying behavior.
For More Information
Visit the Alabama State Department of Education's "Prevention and Support Services" webpage and/or view the Alabama state model policy on bullying.
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).