California Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies
There is currently no federal law that specifically applies to bullying. However, in some cases when bullying is based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or religion, it overlaps with harassment and schools are legally obligated to address it. Each state addresses bullying differently with most state and local lawmakers taking action to prevent bullying and protect our children.
California already has several laws in place to protect children from being bullied, including the California Safe Place to Learn Act located in the California Education Code §234(b) which ensures “local educational agencies continue to work to reduce discrimination, harassment, violence, intimidation, and bullying”.
California Education Codes §§ 32261, 32265, 32270, and 48900 defined bullying of pupils to include bullying committed by means of an electronic act, and authorizes school officials to suspend or recommend for expulsion pupils who engage in bullying. Assembly Bill 746 Ch. 72, which took effect January 1, 2012, amended §32261, also includes social networking sites. The code now states “bullying, including bullying committed personally or by means of an electronic act, which includes the posting of messages on a social network Internet Website”.
Assembly Bill 9 Ch. 723, sometimes referred to as Seth’s Law, strengthens existing policies in California schools by requiring that all schools have an anti-bullying policy and enacts a timeline that school officials must follow when investigating student claims of bullying. Assembly Bill 746 (Campos), approved in 2011 covers all types of bullying, including cyber-bullying.