H. B. 2704
(By Delegate Poore)
[Introduced January 21, 2011; referred to the
Committee on Education then the Judiciary.]
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 adding to the definition of harassment, intimidation or bullying; requiring a child to attend two months of counseling provided by a school if he or she is found to be bullying a fellow student; and punishment for failure to comply with counseling requirements.
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, “harassment, intimidation or bullying” means any intentional gesture, or any intentional written, verbal or physical act or threat or any electronic communication that is reasonably perceived as being motivated either by an actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or mental, physical or sensory disability, or by any other distinguishing characteristic, that takes place on school property, at any school sponsored function or on a school bus and that:
(a) A reasonable person under the circumstances should know will have the effect of physically or emotionally harming a student or damaging a student’s property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm to his or her person or damage to his or her property
(1) 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) 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;
(c) Creates a hostile environment at school for the student;
(d) Infringes on the rights of the student at school; or
(e) Is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, threatening or abusive educational environment for a student.
§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 or at school sponsored events;
(2) A definition of harassment, intimidation or bullying no less inclusive than that in section two of this article;
(3) A procedure for reporting prohibited incidents;
(4) A requirement that school personnel report prohibited incidents of which they are aware;
(5) A requirement that parents or guardians of any student involved in an incident prohibited pursuant to this article be notified;
(6) A procedure for documenting any prohibited incident that is reported;
(7) A procedure for responding to and investigating any reported incident;
(8) A strategy for protecting a victim from additional harassment, intimidation or bullying, and from retaliation following a report;
(9) A disciplinary procedure for any student guilty of harassment or intimidation; or bullying;
(10) A disciplinary procedure for any student guilty of bullying, which must include a minimum of two months of school provided counseling for the guilty student and a procedure to remove the guilty student from the regular school system and place the guilty student in an alternative school system if he or she does not meet the mandatory counseling requirement; 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.
(c) Each county board shall adopt the policy and submit a copy to the State Superintendent of Schools by December 1, 2001.
(d) To assist county boards in developing their policies, the West Virginia Department of Education shall develop a model policy applicable to grades kindergarten through twelfth. The model policy shall be issued by September 1, 2001.
(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.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to add to the definition of harassment, intimidation or bullying and require a child to attend two months of counseling provided by a school if he or she is found to be bullying a fellow student. This bill also prescribes punishment for failure to comply with the counseling requirements.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.