Bullying Zero ToleranceAll men, women, and children should be treated with dignity and respect.  Sadly, this is not always the case; some children experience and endure bullying.  There are zero tolerance policies for bullying in many schools, but not all schools deal with bullying effectively.

Bullying zero tolerance is a term referring to anti-bullying policies, laws, and regulations, and in the State of Tennessee and elsewhere in the United States, bullying violates the law.

Tennessee state law includes definitions for the terms harassment, intimidation, bullying, and cyberbullying.  Tennessee law defines harassment, intimidation, or bullying as any actions that significantly affect a student’s school benefits and/or efforts.  Bullying can occur on school property, at an official event such as a sports game, on official transportation such as a school bus, and/or at a bus stop. Bullying also can occur off school property and not during official events. Tennessee law defines cyberbullying as bullying that occurs online or via electronic devices such as computers and smartphones.  Regardless of where, when, or how it occurs, bullying and/or cyberbullying can hurt a student and/or school property physically, cause a student to fear for his or her life, harm a student emotionally and/or psychologically, and result in a hostile school environment for the bullied student.

In addition, Tennessee schools must have anti-bullying policies, which contain explicit statements prohibiting any sort of bullying or cyberbullying, definitions of unacceptable behavior, statements specifying the times and locations the policies apply, reporting and investigative procedures, express consequences for violating said policies, statements explaining in what way district officials will publicize said policies, counseling referral procedures, and much more.  Tennessee state law also urges schools to review their anti-bullying policies at least one time every three years and notify the Tennessee state education commissioner.

Furthermore, in order to raise awareness for the damaging effects bullying has on bullied individuals and to enable respectful discussions about preventive methods and strategies, schools’ bullying prevention programs must be accessible to students and their parents. Moreover, schools must train educators and counselors on their anti-bullying policies and on ways to implement said policies properly.

In addition, Tennessee law urges school officials to consult with educators, students, parents, and other community residents when developing anti-bullying policies. School officials must notify parents immediately of any bullying incidents involving their children. School officials also must tell parents that counseling is available.

There are numerous things that can be done to prevent bullying. For instance, schools can provide bullying prevention programs. However, formal bullying prevention programs are not always necessary to educate students on bullying prevention; informal programs are just as effective, especially if the programs actively involve the students as opposed to passive lectures.  Schools also can implement formal anti-bullying programs and lessons based on evidence.

Regardless of these policies, it sometimes takes filing a lawsuit to catch the attention of a school administrator to stop bullying.

In order for bullying prevention policies and methods to lead to success and effectiveness, school employees must be trained properly, as required by Tennessee state law. Furthermore, children can treat all individuals respectfully, stand up for individuals who cannot stand up for themselves, and participate in preventive activities in order to help prevent bullying.

Again, if you are being bullied or if you see someone else being bullied, do not just stand there. Act.

If you have questions or concerns about anti-bullying laws, anti-bullying policies, and related procedures, talk to a lawyer. For more information, contact Nashville Attorney Perry A. Craft.

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