H. B. 3225
(By Delegates M. Poling, Paxton, Perry, Ennis,
Pethtel, Shaver, Moye, Smith,
Lawrence and L. Phillips)
(Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary)
[February 25, 2011]
A BILL to amend and reenact §18-2C-2 and §18-2C-3 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, all relating to harassment, intimidation or bullying; expanding the scope of a school board’s policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation and bullying in public schools so that it applies to acts off school grounds when the acts cause disruption in or interference with the orderly operation of the school or creates a hostile educational environment at the school; including electronic acts of harassment, intimidation and bullying in the types of acts covered by the prohibition; definitions; requiring the Department of Education to adopt rules pertaining to when local school officials shall refer students to local juvenile courts; and effective date.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §18-2C-2 and §18-2C-3 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 2C. HARASSMENT, INTIMIDATION OR BULLYING PROHIBITION.
As used in this article:
(1) “Harassment, intimidation or bullying” means any intentional gesture, or any intentional pattern of gestures or written, verbal, electronic or physical act or threat that:
(a) A reasonable person under the circumstances should know will have the effect of any one or more of the following:
(1) Physically or emotionally harming a student;
(2) Damaging a student’s property;
(3) Placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to his or her person; or
(4) Placing a student in reasonable fear of damage to his or her property; or
(b) Is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, threatening or abusive educational environment for a student; Has the effect of insulting or demeaning any student or group of students in such a way as to cause disruption in or interference with the orderly operation of the school; or
(c) Creates a hostile educational environment for the student by interfering with a student’s education or by severely or pervasively causing physical or emotional harm to the student.
(2) “Electronic act” means without limitation a communication or electronic text or image transmitted by means of an electronic device including by not limited to a telephone, wireless phone, other wireless communications device, computer or pager.
(3) “Harassment” means a pattern of unwelcomed verbal or physical conduct relating to another person that causes or should be expected to cause substantial interference with the other’s performance in the school.
§18-2C-3. Policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation or bullying.
(a) Each county board of education shall establish a policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation or bullying. Each county board has control over the content of its policy as long as the policy contains, at a minimum, the requirements of subdivision (b) of this section. The policy shall be adopted through a process that includes representation of parents or guardians, school employees, school volunteers, students and community members.
(b) Each county board policy shall, at a minimum, include the following components:
(1) A statement prohibiting harassment, intimidation or bullying of any student on school property, a school bus, at a school bus stop or at school sponsored events.
(2) The policy shall apply to any act of harassment, intimidation or bullying, whether or not the act originated on school property or off school property if the act is directed specifically at a student and maliciously intended for the purpose of disrupting school or creating a hostile educational environment for the student, and has a high likelihood of succeeding in that purpose;
(3) A definition of harassment, intimidation or bullying no less inclusive than that in section two of this article;
(3)(4) A procedure for reporting prohibited incidents;
(4)(5) A requirement that school personnel report prohibited incidents of which they are aware;
(5)(6) A requirement that parents or guardians of any student involved in an incident prohibited pursuant to this article be notified;
(6)(7) A procedure for documenting any prohibited incident that is reported;
(7)(8) A procedure for responding to and investigating any reported incident;
(8)(9) A strategy for protecting a victim from additional harassment, intimidation or bullying, and from retaliation following a report;
(9)(10) A disciplinary procedure for any student guilty of harassment, intimidation or bullying; and
(10)(11) A requirement that any information relating to a reported incident is confidential, and exempt from disclosure under the provisions of chapter twenty-nine-b of this code.
(12) The West Virginia Department of Education shall adopt rules to determine when local school officials shall refer students to local juvenile courts.
(c) Each county board shall adopt the policy and submit a copy to the State Superintendent of Schools by December 1, 2001 2011.
(d) To assist county boards in developing their policies, the West Virginia Department of Education shall develop a model policy and rules applicable to grades kindergarten through twelfth. The model policy shall be issued by September 1, 2001 2011.
(e) Notice of the county board’s policy shall appear in any student handbook, and in any county board publication that sets forth the comprehensive rules, procedures and standards of conduct for the school.