Components of State Anti-Bullying Laws and Regulations
|District policy requirement
|Reporting and investigations
|Communication of policy
|Safeguards and supports
|Review and update of local policies
Which Missouri laws and regulations cover bullying?
- Missouri Revised Statutes §160.261. Discipline, written policy established by local boards of education — contents — reporting requirements — additional restrictions for certain suspensions — weapons offense, mandatory suspension or expulsion — no civil liability for authorized personnel — spanking not child abuse, when — investigation procedure — officials falsifying reports, penalty
- Missouri Revised Statutes §160.775. Anti-bullying policy required — definition — content, requirements
- Missouri Revised Statutes §167.117. Principal, teachers, school employees to report certain acts, to whom, exceptions — limit on liability — penalty
- Missouri Code of State Regulations 5 CSR 20-100.125. Missouri School Improvement Program 6
- Missouri Code of State Regulations 5 CSR 20-100.255. Missouri School Improvement Program-5 Resource and Process Standards and Indicators
How are bullying and cyberbullying defined in Missouri anti-bullying laws and regulations?
Missouri anti-bullying laws and regulations include the following definition of bullying:
“Bullying” means intimidation, unwanted aggressive behavior, or harassment that is repetitive or is substantially likely to be repeated and causes a reasonable student to fear for his or her physical safety or property; substantially interferes with the educational performance, opportunities, or benefits of any student without exception; or substantially disrupts the orderly operation of the school. Bullying may consist of physical actions, including gestures, or oral, cyberbullying, electronic, or written communication, and any threat of retaliation for reporting of such acts. Bullying of students is prohibited on school property, at any school function, or on a school bus. “Cyberbullying” means bullying as defined in this subsection through the transmission of a communication including, but not limited to, a message, text, sound, or image by means of an electronic device including, but not limited to, a telephone, wireless telephone, or other wireless communication device, computer, or pager.
Mo. Rev. Stat. § 160.775 (2016)
Do Missouri anti-bullying laws and regulations cover cyberbullying that occurs off-campus?
No. Missouri anti-bullying laws do not cover off-campus conduct. However, Missouri anti-bullying laws do state that any school district shall have jurisdiction to prohibit cyberbullying that originates on a school’s campus or at a district activity if the electronic communication was made using the school’s technological resources, if there is a sufficient nexus to the educational environment, or if the electronic communication was made on the school’s campus or at a district activity using the student’s own personal technological resources. School districts may discipline any student for such cyberbullying to the greatest extent allowed by the law.
What are the policy requirements for schools to prevent and respond to bullying behavior?
Missouri school districts must adopt an anti-bullying policy. School district policies must contain key policy and procedural elements, including, but not limited to:
- Statements prohibiting bullying defined no less inclusively than definitions in state law;
- Procedures for reporting and investigations, including designation of an individual at each school to receive reports of incidents of bullying and identification of one or more employees responsible for investigations;
- Statements prohibiting reprisal or retaliation and consequences and remedial actions for reprisal or retaliation;
- Statements regarding how the policy will be publicized within the district; and
- Procedures for discussing the anti-bullying policy with students and training school employees and volunteers on the requirements of the policy.
Missouri anti-bullying laws require districts to review the policy and revise it as needed with input from school personnel, students, and administrators. School districts must also gather data on violence, substance abuse, and bullying and must use information to modify programs and strategies to ensure safe and orderly schools.
Do Missouri anti-bullying laws and regulations include protections for specific groups?
No. There are no specific groups listed under Missouri anti-bullying laws or regulations. Missouri anti-bullying laws state that policies must treat all students equally and shall not contain specific lists of protected classes of students who are to received special treatment.
Missouri 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 Missouri anti-bullying laws and regulations encourage or require districts to implement bullying prevention programs or strategies?
Yes. Missouri anti-bullying laws require districts to provide education and information to students regarding bullying, including information regarding the school district policy prohibiting bullying, the harmful effects of bullying, and other applicable initiatives to address bullying. The school district administration must implement programs and other initiatives to address bullying, including violence prevention instruction for all students and staff that includes information on preventing and responding to illegal harassment and bullying.
Do Missouri anti-bullying laws and regulations encourage or require districts to train teachers and other school staff on how to respond to bullying incidents?
Yes. Missouri school districts must provide information and appropriate training regarding the policy to school district staff who have significant contact with students.
Do Missouri anti-bullying laws and regulations encourage or require districts to provide safeguards or mental health supports for students involved with bullying?
Yes. Missouri anti-bullying laws require school districts to implement programs and other initiatives to address bullying, to respond to such conduct in a manner that does not stigmatize the victim, and to make resources available to victims of bullying. Missouri anti-bullying laws also require districts to instruct school counselors, school social workers, and other mental health professionals to educate students who are victims of bullying on techniques for students to overcome the negative effects of bullying.
Do Missouri anti-bullying laws and regulations involve parents in efforts to address bullying behavior?
No. Missouri anti-bullying laws do not create expectations for parent involvement in addressing bullying.
For More Information
Visit the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s “Bullying” webpage.
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).