More States Enact Anti-Bullying Policies in Schools

The Department of Education has released a new report that analyzes the various approaches in the 46 states that have enacted anti-bullying laws, and the 41 states that have created anti-bullying policies as models for schools.

The report ‘Analysis of State Bullying Laws and Policies' shows the various ways states have tried to combat bullying over the last decade. More than 120 bills were enacted by state legislatures by either introducing or amending statutes that address bullying and related behaviors in schools, from 1999 to 2010. Twenty-one new bills were enacted in 2010, with eight more signed into law by April 30, 2011.

Out of the 46 states with anti-bullying laws in place, 36 have provisions that prohibit cyber bullying and 13 have statutes that grant schools the authority to address off-campus behavior, says the report.

"Every state should have effective bullying prevention efforts in place to protect children inside and outside of school," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

"This report reveals that while most states have enacted legislation around this important issue, a great deal of work remains to ensure adults are doing everything possible to keep our kids safe."

At the first Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Summit in August 2010, the information gap regarding anti-bullying laws and policies across the country was highlighted.

To address this, at the urge of government officials, researchers, policymakers, and education practitioners, the Department composed the report as a guidance document outlining common key components of state anti-bullying laws.

In composing the report, researchers at the Department's Policy and Program Studies Service reviewed and coded legislation and policy documents in every state across the country. The report has been set out to address the extent to which states' bullying laws and model policies contained the key components identified in the December guidance.

A follow-up report that looks to identify how state laws translate into practice at the school level is set to be published in the new year.

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