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Back to School: Bullying Basics

School is back in session for the 2012-2013 academic year and the time has arrived for school districts to fully implement all aspects of Connecticut’s anti-bullying law.  July 1, 2012 marked the deadline for implementation of certain remaining aspects of the state’s bullying law last revised in 2011.  With the advent of a new school year and with the July 1, 2012 deadline having come and gone, school districts should be busy reviewing their districts’ bullying policies and related policies such as their anti-discrimination and anti- harassment policies, any related regulations, examining their safe school climate plans, and creating or revising procedures for implementation of the plans, policies and regulations to ensure compliance with all aspects of the law.

The 2011 revision to Connecticut’s bullying law resulted in a strengthened law that changed the definition of bullying, specifically adding cyberbullying  to the new definition, expanding upon what constitutes bullying and upon where bullying can occur and under what circumstances, and added numerous requirements for school districts such as the establishment of safe school climate plans, the designation of safe school climate specialists at each district school, establishment of safe school committees at each school and the appointment of a district wide safe school climate coordinator.

Here is a non-exhaustive checklist to aid schools and school employees in carrying out their legal responsibilities including notification and training requirements and how to facilitate, investigate, respond to and maintain records of complaints of bullying.