State law requires local school boards to establish character education programs that address the inappropriateness of bullying. The VDOE Annual Discipline, Crime, and Violence Report defines bullying as "repeated negative behaviors intended to frighten or cause harm" that may include, but are not limited to, verbal or written threats or physical harm. Non-criminal behavior associated with bullying includes intimidation, taunting, name-calling, and insults. Examples of behavior associated with bullying that constitute criminal offenses are as follows:
Another form of bullying occurs through the use of electronic means and is referred to as cyber bullying. Typically, cyber bullying is defined as using information and communication technologies, such as cell phone text messages and pictures and internet e-mail, social networking websites, defamatory personal websites, and defamatory online personal polling websites, to support deliberate, hostile, behavior intended to harm others.
Model Policy & Guidance
VDOE is in the process of developing a model policy for preventing and addressing bullying in the commonwealth’s public schools. The department also is preparing guidance to assist school divisions in the development of sound procedures for responding to incidents of bullying. VDOE expects to provide these resources and related training during the 2012-2013 school year.
2011 Legislative Study
The need for additional guidance and training was identified in a study conducted by VDOE at the request of the 2011 General Assembly. Specifically, the legislature directed VDOE to:
- Review and compare antibullying measures in the student codes of conduct of each school division;
- Compare existing policies with the department’s model policy for codes of student conduct; and
- Determine if improvements to existing policies are warranted, in order to more effectively combat bullying in Virginia public schools.
VDOE’s findings were presented to the 2012 General Assembly.
- Cyberbullying and School Policy (2008) VDOE Information Brief
- Student Conduct Policy Guidelines (PDF) (2009)
- Internet Safety in Schools
- Focus on: Bullying (PDF)
An article from Safe and Supportive Schools: News and Grant Opportunities, Issue #7, August 27, 2010
- Focus on: Bullying #2 (PDF)
An article from Safe and Supportive Schools: News and Grant Opportunities, Issue #11, October 8, 2010
- Focus on: Bullying #3 (PDF)
An article from Safe and Supportive Schools: News, Trainings, and Grant Opportunities, Issue #14, January 5, 2011
- Promoting Respectful Schools – ASCD