What are the facts about bullying? GLSEN: The 2011 National School Climate Survey

    • It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students.

    • American schools harbor approximately 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 million of their victims. Dan Olweus, National School Safety Center.

    • One in seven students is either a bully or victim.

    • Fifteen percent of all school absenteeism is directly related to fears of being bullied at school.

    • Seventy-one percent of students report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school.

    • Nearly eight in ten students who identify as LGBT report being verbally harassed at school. Because of feeling unsafe, 32.7 percent report missing a day of school.

    • In one study by “Fight Crime: Invest in Kids,” nearly 60 percent of boys whom researchers classified as bullies in grades six to nine were convicted of at least one crime by the age of 24, while 40 percent had three or more convictions.

    What are the facts about cyberbullying? GLSEN: The 2011 National School Climate Survey

    • One in four teens in a relationship (25%) say they have been called names, harassed, or put down by their partner through cell phones and texting. Only 20 percent informed a parent or another adult.

    • Forty-three percent of youth report that they have experienced some form of cyber-bullying in the last year. The incidence of cyberbullying is most prevalent among 15- and 16-year-olds, particularly among girls.

    • Teen cyber-bullying victims are twice as likely to talk to a friend about a bullying incident as to talk with their parents or another adult.

    How do students and teachers perceive bullying? GLSEN: The 2011 National School Climate Survey

    • Two-thirds of persons affected felt that staff responded poorly when they reported bullying. Only six percent believed the report was handled very well.

    • Seventy percent of teachers believe that adults intervene almost all the time, while only 25 percent of students agreed.

    • Among ninth-grade students, only 35 percent believed their teachers were interested in trying to stop bullying (only 25 percent for Administrators).

    • Though 80 percent of middle school students “felt” sorry for victims of bullying, 64 percent said that other students try to prevent bullying only “once in a while” or never.

    What California laws protect students from bullying?

    1985: School Safety Demonstration Act
    Established the School/Law Enforcement Partnership comprised of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Attorney General for the development and administration of safe school program partnership was established in 1985 in an effort to make schools safer and reduce hate crimes.

    2001: AB79
    Requires the Department of Education to develop model policies on the prevention of bullying and conflict resolution, makes the model policies available to school districts, and authorizes school districts to adopt one or both policies for incorporation into the school safety plan.

    2001: SB257
    Specifies that, for school and law enforcement partnership purposes, school crime includes hate crimes and requires the comprehensive school safety plan to include development of a discrimination and harassment policy, as specified, and development of hate crime reporting procedures.

    2003: SB719
    The Bullying Prevention for School Safety and Crime Reduction Act updated and enhanced 1985 School Safety Act. “The Legislature finds and declares …The children of this state have the right to an effective public school education. Both students and staff of… school campuses have the constitutional right to be safe and secure in their persons at school. It is the intent of the Legislature that all California public schools,…develop a comprehensive school safety plan that addresses the safety concerns identified through a systematic planning process.”

    2007: AB 394
    The Safe Place to Learn Act, provides protection for youth in schools, including those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). It strengthens the state’s ability to keep schools safe and fight bias and harassment in schools by requiring the California Department of Education to monitor school compliance with the state’s existing anti-bias laws. AB 394 guides school districts in adopting and publicizing anti-harassment policies and complaint procedures, updating publications on school safety and discrimination, keeping records of complaints and how they were resolved, and providing training for teachers on how to maintain a safe learning environment for all students.

    2008: AB 86
    This was one of the first laws in the country to deal directly with cyber-bullying. The legislation added “bullying committed by means of an electronic communication device” to the mandate of the School/Law Enforcement Partnership and gave school administrators the authority to discipline students for bullying others offline or online.

    2011: AB 9 (Seth’s Law)
    Although California has adopted anti-bullying legislation, LGBT youth are still subject to harassment, intimidation, and bullying. Seth’s Law tightens anti-bullying policies in California schools by ensuring that all schools have clear and consistent policies and by establishing timelines for investigating claims of bullying. AB 9 will help create a respectful and safe environment for all students. Seth’s Law specifically contains the following requirement: “If school personnel witness an act of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, he or she shall take immediate steps to intervene when safe to do so.” (Education Code Section 234.1(b)(1))

    California Education Code: Bullying/Harassment
    Education Code 48900 (2008) permits a student to be suspended from school or recommended for expulsion for engaging in acts of bullying.

    AB 1729 Amends 48900 (2012) now requires an alternative discipline.

    Education Code 48900.4 (2008) allows a student to be suspended or recommended for expulsion if the superintendent or the principal of the school in which the student is enrolled determines that the student has intentionally engaged in harassment, threats, or intimidation, directed against school district personnel or pupils “that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to have the actual and reasonably expected effect of materially disrupting classwork, creating substantial disorder, and invading the rights of either school personnel or pupils by creating an intimidating or hostile educational environment.”

    Education Code 48900.2 (2008) permits a student to be suspended from school or recommended for expulsion if the superintendent or the principal of the school in which the student is enrolled determines that the student has committed sexual harassment, as defined in Education Code 212.5.

    Cyber Bullying
    Education Code 48900 (2008) permits a student to be suspended from school or recommended for expulsion for engaging in acts of bullying, including bullying committed by means of electronic acts.

    Education Code 32261 (no date available) defines “electronic act” as “the transmission of a communication, including but not limited to, a message, text, sound, or image by means of an electronic device, including but not limited to a telephone, wireless telephone, or other wireless communication device, computer, or pager.”

    Additional References

    See “Bullying and Hate-Motivated Behavior Prevention” published by the California Department of Education.


    See “Analysis of State Bullying Laws and Policies – December 2011” (U.S. Department of Education).









Last Modified on June 21, 2018