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Relating to harassment, bullying, and cyberbullying
of a public school student or minor and certain mental health programs for public
This bill would expand the definition of bullying to include a single significant act, or a pattern of acts, by one or more students directed at another student that exploits an imbalance of power and involves written, verbal, physical conduct, and that occurs at the site of a school-sponsored or school-related activity, on or of school property. The bullying would have to interfere with a student’s educational opportunities or substantially disrupt the orderly operation of a school, classroom, or school-sponsored or school-related activity. It would also be considered bullying if the conduct infringes on the rights of the victim. In addition, this definition would include cyberbullying which is bullying done through the use of electronic communication.
This bill would authorize a student to be placed in a disciplinary alternative education program or expelled if the student engages in bullying that encourages a minor to commit suicide, or if they incite violence against a minor, or if they threaten to release intimate visual material of a minor.
This bill would allow a victim of cyberbullying who is younger than 18 years of age at the time it occurs to seek injunctive relief against the individual who was cyberbullying the recipient. Additionally, bullying would be punishable as a Class B misdemeanor for a first offense. If a person engages in bullying, and if they have previously violated a temporary restraining order or injunction issued under this bill, or if the actor’s conduct results in serious bodily injury or death, the crime of bullying would be punishable as a Class A misdemeanor.