State Takes Action Against Student Bullying

A new model policy and related training are under way, with the goal of further protecting students in Missouri public schools from bullying. A committee tasked with developing both was created in response to a revised Missouri anti-bullying statute that was signed into law on June 4, 2016 (House Bill No. 1583).
Among the highlights are requirements that all Missouri public schools adopt revised anti-bullying school policies that include prohibition against cyberbullying, as well as periodic staff and student training regarding bullying prevention—both of which must comply with the revised law.
The Anti-Bullying Committee, created through the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education legislative workshop in October of 2016, consists of “stakeholders” that include school administrators, school counselors, child mental healthcare providers and school attorneys. Their charge is to help draft a model-compliant, anti-bullying policy that schools may consider adopting, with the goal of being ready for publication before the start of the 2017-2018 school year.
The Missouri Legislature clearly wants to ensure that students have a safe learning environment. To that end, the goal of the committee is to create a model policy and training that will maximize student safety. In fact, the training component has been a part of federal publications that address bullying issues in public schools (Dear Colleague Letter 2013). While neither the federal publications nor the Missouri Statute define “periodic training,” the committee may believe this to be a requirement for annual training. The intention is to create a model policy that borrows key elements from federal anti-bullying publications, so that this goal of maximizing student safety can be achieved in all of Missouri’s public schools.

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