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  4. Utah Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies

Utah Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies

Components of State Anti-Bullying Laws and Regulations

Component Included
Prohibiting statement Yes
Definition Yes
Scope Yes
Protected groups No
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 Utah and regulations cover bullying?

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

Utah anti-bullying laws and regulations include the following definitions of bullying, cyber-bullying, and harassment:

“Bullying” means a school employee or student intentionally committing a written, verbal, or physical act against a school employee or student that a reasonable person under the circumstances should know or reasonably foresee will have the effect of:

  1. causing physical or emotional harm to the school employee or student;
  2. causing damage to the school employee’s or student’s property;
  3. placing the school employee or student in reasonable fear of:
    1. harm to the school employee’s or student’s physical or emotional well-being; or
    2. damage to the school employee’s or student’s property;
  4. creating a hostile, threatening, humiliating, or abusive educational environment due to:
    1. the pervasiveness, persistence, or severity of the actions; or
    2. a power differential between the bully and the target; or
  5. substantially interfering with a student having a safe school environment that is necessary to facilitate educational performance, opportunities, or benefits.

“Cyber-bullying” means using the Internet, a cell phone, or another device to send or post text, video, or an image with the intent or knowledge, or with reckless disregard, that the text, video, or image will hurt, embarrass, or threaten an individual, regardless of whether the individual directed, consented to, or acquiesced in the conduct, or voluntarily accessed the electronic communication.

Utah Code Ann. § 53G-9-601 ( 2019)

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

Yes. Utah anti-bullying laws cover off-campus conduct by prohibiting cyberbullying at any time or at any location.

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

Utah school districts must adopt a policy addressing bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, abusive conduct, and retaliation. School district policies must contain key policy and procedural elements, including, but not limited to:

  • Definitions of bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, and abusive conduct that are consistent with definitions in state law;
  • Prohibitions against bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, abusive conduct, retaliation, and false reporting;
  • Requirements for parent notification of incidents of bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, abusive conduct, and retaliation, or of a student’s threats of suicide;
  • Grievance processes for school employees;
  • Reporting and investigation procedures, including interview processes and reviews of disciplinary reports and physical evidence, and circumstances in which the district would report incidents to law enforcement;
  • Action plans to address a reported incident of bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, or retaliation; and
  • Requirements for how the policy will be publicized within the district.

Utah school boards must also adopt electronic device policies that prohibit the use of electronic devices in ways that bully, humiliate, harass, or intimidate school-related individuals. Utah anti-bullying laws require districts to report annually to the State Board of Education on the school board’s policy, training of school employees, and other related information.

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

No. There are no specific groups listed under Utah anti-bullying laws or regulations. However, Utah state regulation does prohibit bullying, cyber-bullying, harassment, or hazing that is targeted at a student based upon the students’ or employees’ identification as part of any group protected from discrimination under federal law.

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

Yes. Utah anti-bullying laws require school boards to adopt standards and procedures that require regular annual discussion and training designed to prevent bullying, cyberbullying, hazing, and retaliation among school employees and students.

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

Yes. Utah anti-bullying laws require districts to include training regarding bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, abusive conduct, and retaliation in school employee training. School boards may also offer voluntary training to parents and students regarding abusive conduct. School boards are also encouraged to implement programs or initiatives, in addition to standard school employee training, to provide training and education regarding the prevention of bullying, hazing, abusive conduct, and retaliation. Programs or initiatives may involve the establishment of a bullying task force or the involvement of school employees, students, or law enforcement.

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

Yes. Utah anti-bullying laws encourage districts to take positive restorative justice practice action if an alleged victim chooses to participate and to support involved students through trauma-informed practices.

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

Yes. Utah school district policies must be developed with input from students, parents, teachers, school administrators, school staff, or local law enforcement agencies and must include provisions to notify the parents of each student involved in an incident of bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, abusive conduct, or retaliation. Utah school districts are also encouraged to implement seminars for parents that address bullying and other behavioral health issues.

For More Information

Visit the Utah State Board of Education’s “ Bullying Prevention” webpage and/or view the Utah state model policy on bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, and retaliation.

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