A Bully Falls Over Every Time a Person Reads This Article

  • 13
  • 10
  • 3
  • 6
  • 1
  • 1


There Are Laws About Bullying

[Learn about various types of bullying and what qualifies as bullying here.]

The Federal Level

While there aren’t any federal laws that regulate bullying, there are federal laws that come into play when trying to address some specific behaviors that are often a part of bullying.

There are, for instance, multiple laws that abolish discrimination-based harassment and hate crime. If a person is targeted because of their ancestry, disability, ethnicity, gender, race, or skin color, it’s possible a federal law is being broken.

The good news is, even if the kind of bullying happening isn’t discrimination-based, there are probably still state laws to protect the victim.

The State Level

On the up side, every one of the U.S.’ 50 states has laws designed to discourage and eliminate bullying which require schools to actively work to confront and prevent bullying.

On the downside, these state laws can be tricky because each state defines bullying a little bit differently…and sometimes the definition is left open to interpretation.

In order for the police and court system to help intervene in an instance of bullying, the following criteria usually have to be met:

  1. There is physical abuse that harms a child or damages the child’s possessions.
  2. There is purposeful verbal or social abuse (learn about these types here).

Other factors that may encourage law enforcement to get involved might include:

  • The abuse is ongoing or has stretched over several instances.
  • The abuse is doing emotional or psychological harm (in addition to physical or social harm).
  • The abuse targets a vulnerable party

Just because bullying laws exist doesn’t necessarily mean that officials will be quick to act

Unfortunately, some adults still dismiss or minimize hurtful behavior by taking a “kids will be kids” attitude. They may be even less likely to adequately address cyberbullying, as it is sometimes mistakenly perceived as “less real” than aggressively physical encounters. [Learn how to report cyberbullying on websites or social media here.]

When trying to get officials to respond to bullying or to take aggressive behavior seriously, the victim (or their advocate) should document each occurrence.

In this documentation, write a brief summary that describes what kind of mistreatment is happening, including the types of bullying occurring (social, verbal, physical etc.) involved. Then keep records of each instance that begin with the date and time, as well as the location (the hall, the bus, the playground etc.) the bullying occurs. Note exactly what happens, who is acting aggressively and who–if anyone–witnessed the actions, and how the victim was impacted. If there is visible harm or damage, take photos. Also write down the date and time and a brief description of every interaction you have as you try to resolve the issue, including conversations, emails, or other communication with school or police representatives.

You may also want to print these bullying statistics to share while advocating for a victim of bullying.

There are no comments

Add yours