Bullying was just once something that happened in school to almost everyone. It has now become a major issue, especially when cyber bullying is taken into account. More individuals are taking their own lives over bullying and this has resulted in the government stepping in. Leaving parents to question, are anti-bullying laws now in existence and what do they mean for their children?
49 States Have Anti-Bullying Laws
There is currently no federal law against bullying, but 49 states have created their own law against it. Georgia started with laws being passed in 1995. Montana is currently the only state without any type of anti-bullying law.
While all states have laws, the laws are not all the same. The punishment for those breaking the law is different, with some having no criminal charges brought against offenders and others being charged with felonies. At the moment, 12 states have criminal sanctions in place, with some of these sanctions only being school suspension.
Florida is creating most of the controversy over the strict criminal sanctions. Two teens currently face jail time and being charged for a felony due to bullying antics.
Bullying Is Still Different to Harassment
While there are no federal anti-bullying laws, some bullying can be classed as harassment or discrimination. This is especially the case when race, religion, or gender is taken into account. This means people in Montana are still somewhat protected against the main reasons for bullying. Attacks can happen either in person or online, and the authorities can decide to apply charges of discrimination and harassment against individuals for any type of discriminating action.
Schools Still Need to Protect Individuals
Likewise, there are federal expectations towards schools. They still need to protect children against any hazing, bullying, or treatment that is persistent or severe. Schools also need to step in when a student's ability to participate or benefit is prevented due to the actions of bullies.
The state laws now make clear what is expected of schools. Suspension and permanent exclusion are two options available, depending on the state. While the laws are in place, the schools don't necessarily have the tools or funding to follow through with them. They don't have the time to investigate all complaints, and it can put children at risk.
After an Injury Takes Place
If your child has been injured by a bully, you need to talk to a personal injury lawyer to see what rights you have for damages and how you can protect your child in the future. This is no longer a case of "kids will be kids" like it may have been a couple of decades ago. Bullying is more serious now than it ever has been.
As you can see, nearly every state in the U.S. has some kind of anti-bullying law to protect your children. If your child is being bullied and you do not feel as though the school is doing anything about it, do not be afraid to talk to a personal injury attorney about taking legal action to stop the bullying.
Hello, I'm Christina Miller. Have you ever been fascinated with why the law works the way it does? Ever since I was in junior high, I had an intense interest in anything related to our legal system, whether it be a crime drama on television, a judge show or a legal case covered on the news. I followed it all. As time progressed, I began learning about how the actual legal system worked and not just the fictionalized version of our legal system. This has lead me to start writing my own blog posts about law that I hope will help others.