H. B. 2850
(By Delegates Williams, Pethtel, Beach and Cann)
[Introduced February 3, 2003; referred to the
Committee on Education then the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend article two-c, chapter eighteen of the code of West
Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by
adding thereto a new section, designated section seven,
relating to protecting school employees from harassment;
allowing restraining orders to be issued; and providing
criminal penalties for violating orders.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That article two-c, chapter eighteen of the code of West
Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be
amended by adding thereto a new section, designated section seven,
to read as follows:
ARTICLE 2C. HARASSMENT, INTIMIDATION OR BULLYING PROHIBITION.
§18-2C-7. Harassment of school employees.
(a)(1) The Legislature finds that not only may the harassment,
intimidation or bullying of students be disruptive in school, but the harassment, intimidation or bullying of school employees may
also be disruptive and is unacceptable.
(2) Although it is important for parents and other legal
custodians of students to be involved in their students' education
and to have access to their schools, to the extent that a parent or
other legal custodian of a student engages in conduct, on or off
school premises, that is intended to harass a school employee such
behavior jeopardizes the education of not only their children but
potentially of other students and justifies limitations being
placed on the person's access to school property.
(b) A county board of education or an individual employee of
a board of education may initiate an action to enjoin an alleged
harasser from any or all of the following:
(1) Entering any school where the employee works or any other
place for the purpose of harassing an employee;
(2) Contacting the employee, in person or by telephone, for
the purpose of harassment or threats; or
(3) Harassing the employee in any place.
(c) The action may be initiated in the circuit court of the
county in which the school is located, in the employee's county of
residence or in the county in which the alleged harasser resides or
(d) If the court finds that the alleged harasser has harassed
an employee the court may enter an order restraining the harasser from any activity or place it finds appropriate in order to protect
the employee. If the harasser is the parent or legal custodian of
a student in a school from which the harasser is barred, the court
shall include in the order appropriate provisions to address
parental or legal custodian involvement in the education of the
student while still maintaining protections for the employee.
(e) For purposes of this section:
(1)"Harass" means to willfully direct one's conduct at a
school employee or employees in a manner which would cause a
reasonable person mental injury or emotional distress, and
includes, but is not limited to:
(A) Willfully and repeatedly following a school employee, a
member of the employee's immediate family, his or her current
social companion, his or her professional counselor or attorney;
(B) Willfully and repeatedly following and making a credible
threat against a school employee, or against a member of the
employee's immediate family, his or her current social companion,
his or her professional counselor or attorney with the intent to
place or placing him or her in reasonable apprehension that he or
she or a member of his or her immediate family will suffer death,
sexual assault, kidnaping, bodily injury or battery; or
(C) Repeatedly making credible threats against a school
employee, or against a member of the employee's immediate family,
his or her current social companion, his or her professional counselor or attorney.
(2) "Credible threat" means a threat of bodily injury made
with the apparent ability to carry out the threat and with the
result that a reasonable person would believe that the threat could
be carried out.
(3) "Bodily injury" means substantial physical pain, illness
or any impairment of physical condition.
(4) "Immediate family" means a spouse, parent, stepparent,
mother-in-law, father-in-law, child, stepchild, sibling, or any
person who regularly resides in the household or within the prior
six months regularly resided in the household.
(5) "School employee" means a person employed by a county
board of education whether employed on a regular full-time basis,
an hourly basis or otherwise. For the purposes of this section, a
school employee includes a student teacher.
(f) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the
contrary, any person who violates an order entered pursuant to this
section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof,
shall be incarcerated in jail for not less than ninety days nor
more than one year or fined not less than two thousand dollars nor
more than five thousand dollars, or both.
(g) A second or subsequent conviction for violating an order
entered pursuant to this section occurring within five years of a
prior conviction is a felony punishable by incarceration in a state correctional facility for not less than one year nor more than five
years or fined not less than three thousand dollars nor more than
ten thousand dollars, or both.
(h) Any person convicted under the provisions of this section
who is granted probation or for whom execution or imposition of a
sentence or incarceration is suspended is to have as a condition of
probation or suspension of sentence that he or she participate in
counseling or medical treatment as directed by the court.
(i) Upon conviction, the court may issue an order restraining
the defendant from any contact with the employee for a period not
to exceed ten years. The length of any restraining order shall be
based upon the seriousness of the violation before the court, the
probability of future violations, and the safety of the employee or
his or her immediate family. The duration of the restraining order
may be longer than five years only in cases when a longer duration
is necessary to protect the safety of the employee or his or her
(j) It is a condition of bond for any person accused of the
offense described in this section that the person is to have no
contact, direct or indirect, verbal or physical, with the employee.
(k) Nothing in this section precludes a sentencing court from
exercising its power to impose home confinement with electronic
monitoring as an alternative sentence.
(l) Nothing in this section prevents lawful assembly and petition for the redress of grievances, including, but not limited
(1) Any labor dispute;
(2) Demonstration at the seat of federal, state, county or
municipal government; or
(3) Activities protected by the West Virginia constitution or
the United States constitution or any statute of this state or the
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to
provide protections for
school employees who are being harassed. The bill allows
restraining orders to be issued and provides criminal penalties for
violating the orders.
This section is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.