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  4. Connecticut Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies

Connecticut 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 Connecticut laws and regulations cover bullying?

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

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

"Bullying" means an act that is direct or indirect and severe, persistent or pervasive, which (A) causes physical or emotional harm to an individual, (B) places an individual in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm, or (C) infringes on the rights or opportunities of an individual at school. "Bullying" shall include, but need not be limited to, a written, oral or electronic communication or physical act or gesture based on any actual or perceived differentiating characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, socioeconomic status, academic status, physical appearance, or mental, physical, developmental or sensory disability, or by association with an individual or group who has or is perceived to have one or more of such characteristics;

"Cyberbullying" means any act of bullying through the use of the Internet, interactive and digital technologies, cellular mobile telephone or other mobile electronic devices or any electronic communications.

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-222d (2019)

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

Yes. Connecticut anti-bullying laws cover off-campus conduct outside of the school setting if such bullying (i) creates a hostile environment at school for the student against whom such bullying was directed, (ii) infringes on the rights of the student against whom such bullying was directed at school, or (iii) substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.

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

Connecticut local and regional boards of education must develop and implement a safe school climate plan to address the existence of bullying in schools and must appoint a district safe school climate coordinator responsible for implementing the district's safe school climate plan. The principal or the principal's designee in each school must serve as the school climate specialist responsible for investigating reported acts of bullying and collecting and maintaining records of reports and investigations. Schools must establish a school climate committee responsible for developing and fostering a safe school climate and addressing issues of bullying. Safe school climate plans must contain key policy and procedural elements, including, but not limited to:

  • Statements prohibiting bullying and statements of scope indicating where and when the policy applies;
  • Procedures for reporting and investigations, including provisions for anonymous reporting and procedures for documenting and maintaining records;
  • Prevention and intervention strategies;
  • Procedures for parent notification and parent conferences with parents or guardians of students who commit verified acts of bullying and the parents or guardians of students against whom such acts were directed;
  • Procedures for documenting and maintaining records of reports and investigations;
  • Procedures directing the development of case-by-case interventions for addressing repeated incidents of bullying and the development of student safety support plans detailing safety measures the school will take to protect students against further acts of bullying;
  • Statements of consequences for violation of the policy in student codes of conduct;
  • Requirements for law enforcement notification when acts of bullying may constitute criminal conduct; and
  • Requirements regarding how the policy will be publicized within the district.

Connecticut state law requires districts to submit safe school climate plans to the Department of Education for review and approval. Schools must also complete and submit to the Department of Education an annual assessment using school climate assessment instruments and must report verified acts of bullying.

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

Yes. Connecticut anti-bullying laws prohibit bullying based on any actual or perceived differentiating characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, socioeconomic status, academic status, physical appearance, or mental, physical, developmental or sensory disability, or by association with an individual or group who has or is perceived to have one or more of such characteristics.

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

Yes. Connecticut school district safe school climate plans must incorporate a prevention and intervention strategy that may include, but is not limited to, implementation of positive behavioral interventions and supports or other evidence-based model approaches, school rules prohibiting bullying, adult supervision of selected areas of school campuses, individual interventions with students involved in bullying incidents, school-wide school climate training, parent engagement strategies, and culturally-competent school-based curriculum.

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

Yes. Connecticut school district safe school climate plans must include a requirement for all school employees to complete annual in-service training on the prevention, identification, and response to school bullying. Each local and regional board of education, in collaboration with the Connecticut Department of Education, must provide training materials to school administrators regarding the prevention of and intervention in discrimination against and targeted harassment of students. Connecticut anti-bullying laws also require that any candidate in a program of teacher preparation leading to professional certification complete a school violence, bullying, and suicide prevention and conflict resolution component.

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

Yes. Connecticut safe school climate plans must direct the development of case-by-case interventions, including counseling, for addressing repeated incidents of bullying, and must direct the development of student safety support plans that address safety measures the school will take to protect students against further acts of bullying. Connecticut safe school climate plans must also incorporate a prevention and intervention strategy that may include interventions with a bullied child, such as referrals to a school counselor, psychologist, or other appropriate social or mental health service, and periodic follow-up by the safe school climate specialist with the bullied child.

Do Connecticut anti-bullying laws and regulations involve parents in efforts to ad dress bullying behavior?

Yes. Connecticut schools must designate a committee in the school to be responsible for developing and fostering a safe school climate and addressing issues related to bullying in the school. The committee must include at least one parent or guardian of a student enrolled in the school. Connecticut school district plans must include provisions to notify the parents or guardians of students who commit any verified acts of bullying and the parents or guardians of students against whom such acts were directed. School districts must also invite the parents or guardians of a student against whom bullying was directed to a meeting to communicate the measures being taken by the school to ensure the safety of the student and that policies and procedures are in place to prevent further acts of bullying. School districts must also invite the parents or guardians of a student who commits any verified act of bullying to a meeting to discuss specific interventions undertaken by the school to prevent further acts of bullying. Prevention and intervention strategies may include the promotion of parent involvement in bullying prevention through individual or team participation in meetings, trainings, and individual interventions.

For More Information

Visit the Connecticut State Department of Education's "Bullying and Harassment" webpage and/or view the Connecticut model school climate 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).

Date Last Reviewed