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  4. Arkansas Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies

Arkansas Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies

Components of State Anti-Bullying Laws and Regulations

Component Included
Prohibiting statement Yes
Definition Yes
Scope Yes
Protected groups Yes
District policy requirement Yes
Reporting and investigations Yes
Consequences Yes
Communication of policy Yes
Safeguards and supports Yes
Review and update of local policies Yes
Prevention education Yes
Staff training Yes
Parent engagement Yes

Which Arkansas laws and regulations cover bullying?

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

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

  1. "Bullying" means the intentional harassment, intimidation, humiliation, ridicule, defamation, or threat or incitement of violence by a student against another student or public school employee by a written, verbal, electronic, or physical act that may address an attribute of the other student, public school employee, or person with whom the other student or public school employee is associated and that causes or creates actual or reasonably foreseeable:
    1. Physical harm to a public school employee or student or damage to the public school employee's or student's property;
    2. Substantial interference with a student's education or with a public school employee's role in education;
    3. A hostile educational environment for one (1) or more students or public school employees due to the severity, persistence, or pervasiveness of the act; or
    4. Substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the public school or educational environment.
  2. "Bullying" includes cyberbullying as defined in this section;
    1. "Cyberbullying" means any form of communication by electronic act that is sent with the purpose to:
  1. Harass, intimidate, humiliate, ridicule, defame, or threaten a student, public school employee, or person with whom the other student or public school employee is associated; or
  2. Incite violence against a student, public school employee, or person with whom the other student or public school employee is associated;
    1. "Electronic act" means without limitation a communication or image transmitted by means of an electronic device, including without limitation a telephone, wireless phone or other wireless communications device, computer, or pager;
    2. "Harassment" means a pattern of unwelcome verbal or physical conduct relating to another person's constitutionally or statutorily protected status that causes, or reasonably should be expected to cause, substantial interference with the other's performance in the school environment; and
    3. "Substantial disruption" means without limitation that any one (1) or more of the following occur as a result of the bullying:
  1. Necessary cessation of instruction or educational activities;
  2. Inability of students or educational staff to focus on learning or function as an educational unit because of a hostile environment;
  3. Severe or repetitive disciplinary measures are needed in the classroom or during educational activities; or
  4. Exhibition of other behaviors by students or educational staff that substantially interfere with the learning environment.

A.C.A. § 6-18-514 (2019)

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

Yes. Arkansas anti-bullying laws prohibit cyberbullying that results in the substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the school or educational environment, whether or not the electronic act originated on school property or with school equipment, if the cyberbullying is directed specifically at students or school personnel, is maliciously intended for the purpose of disrupting school, and has a high likelihood of succeeding in that purpose.

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

Arkansas school districts are required to adopt policies to prevent bullying. District policies must contain key policy and procedural elements, including, but not limited to:

  • Definitions of conduct that constitutes bullying that conform to definitions in state law;
  • Statements prohibiting bullying and cyberbullying including information on the scope of where bullying laws apply;
  • Disciplinary consequences for engaging in prohibited conduct;
  • Requirements for mandatory reporting among school personnel;
  • Procedures for reporting and investigations, including time limitations for conducting an investigation;
  • Procedures for notifying the parent or legal guardian of the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator of an incident of bullying;
  • Requirements for how policies will be publicized within the district; and
  • Requirements that a full copy of the policy will be made available upon request.

Arkansas anti-bullying laws require districts to review bullying policies on an annual basis and to make any necessary revisions. School districts must provide the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education with the website address at which a copy of the policies may be found.

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

Yes. Arkansas anti-bullying laws prohibit bullying acts that may address an attribute of the other student, public school employee, or person with whom the other student or public school employee is associated. "Attribute" means an actual or perceived personal characteristic including without limitation race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, socioeconomic status, academic status, disability, gender, gender identity, physical appearance, health condition, or sexual orientation.

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

Yes. Arkansas anti-bullying laws require that districts implement group conflict resolution services, include programs designed to prevent bullying as a component of their student services programs.

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

Yes. Arkansas school districts must provide training on compliance with the anti-bullying policies to all public school district employees responsible for reporting or investigating bullying. All Arkansas licensed school personnel are also required to receive two hours of professional development in bullying prevention and recognition of the relationship between bullying and the risk of suicide.

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

Yes. Arkansas anti-bullying laws require the principal or designee to discuss, as appropriate, the availability of school counseling and other intervention services with students involved in incidents of bullying. School counselors are encouraged to implement programs to address bullying that include strategies to support a student who is being bullied.

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

Yes. Arkansas anti-bullying laws require school districts to report to a parent or legal guardian when a student is believed to be the victim of an incident of bullying, and to notify the parent or legal guardian of a student who is determined to have been the perpetrator of the bullying incident.

For More Information

Visit the Arkansas Department of Education's "Anti-Bullying and Violence Prevention" webpage and/or view the Arkansas state guidance document on bullying prevention.

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).

Date Last Reviewed