Act 861--Requires Formalized Process in Bullying Incidents
November 29, 2012 — The new law, Act 861, requires that all school districts in the state must adopt an official policy prohibiting bullying of students, but this does not mean schools didn't already have strict policies against it.
"Many of the preventative measures that are already in place are things such as PBIS which is Positive Behavior Interventions or RTI, Response to Interventions," says Bradley Cruice, Director of Health & Wellness, School Board Council Member.
What Act 861 addresses is when those preventative measures fail and bullying still occurs. There will now be a formal process to go through.
"So it's really a comprehensive law so that schools can be a safehaven for the children," Mr. Cruice said.
In accordance with the law the new policy has four main components schools must now abide by..timelines for reporting and investigating the incident, parental notification, and mandatory orientation for school employees.
"It is an issue in the school system, not only our school system but across the country, so we want to be proactive as much as possible," says Mr. Cruice.
Proactive measures were thoroughly discussed last night at the school board council meeting when the new bullying policy came up on the agenda.
"There was a lot of discussion on how we can be proactive so that we can decrease the incidents of bullying on our campus," says Mr. Cruice.
A big proactive measure discussed was peer mediation, letting the peers decide the punishment, and how instrumental parental involvment is when it comes to bullying. This law was passed during the 2012 legislative session and will go into affect starting January 1, 2013. Council members will vote on this new bullying policy at the next school board meeting.