SSB 5288

C 407 L 07
Synopsis as Enacted

Brief Description: Requiring cyberbullying to be included in school district harassment prevention policies.

Sponsors: Senate Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education (originally sponsored by Senators Kohl-Welles, Murray, McAuliffe, Weinstein, Shin and Rasmussen).

Senate Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education
House Committee on Education

Background: In 2002, anti-bullying legislation was passed by the Washington Legislature. As a result, school districts are required to adopt their own policy prohibiting the harassment, intimidation, or bullying of any student. Under current law, the definition of "harassment, intimidation, or bullying" includes written, verbal, or physical acts, and the act must have a negative impact on the student or the educational environment.

Summary: The Washington State School Directors' Association (WSSDA) and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) must convene an advisory committee to develop a model policy prohibiting acts of harassment, intimidation, or bullying conducted via electronic means by a student while on school grounds during the school day. The policy must include a requirement that information be given to parents or made available via the district's web site regarding the seriousness of cyberbullying. The advisory committee must also develop sample materials, which include information on safe internet use and the options available if a student is being bullied via electronic means, for school districts to disseminate to parents.

WSSDA must submit the model policy, the sample materials, and a recommendation for local adoption to the Governor and the Legislature and post the information on its web site by January 1, 2008. Each school board must have its own policy by August 1, 2008. The terms "electronic" and "electronic means" are defined.

Votes on Final Passage:

Senate      42   6
House      70   26   (House amended)
Senate            (Senate refused to concur)
House      75   20   (House amended)
Senate      40   8   (Senate concurred)

Effective:   July 22, 2007