The HB 276 Bill, also known as the School Bullying Bill was signed by the Ohio state governor on December 26, 2006. This law was the first to address student bulling on school grounds in the state of Ohio. With the bill’s passing into law there were created many new mandates for local school boards of education and holds school administrators responsible for preventing harassment, intimidation or bullying in school. The overall goal of this bill is to protect their students from any type of harassment and prevent retaliation.
Following the signing of this bill, Ohio’s State School Board was to create an example policy that local schools could use to develop on of their own in adherence to this law. The Ohio law requires all schools to have a policy that prohibits harassment, intimidation or bullying of any of their students on school property or school organized event. HB 276 defines harassment, intimidation or bullying as “an intentional written, verbal, or physical act that a student has exhibited toward another particular student more than once.” Additionally the act must be the cause of some mental or physical harm to the victim and create an environment which is intimidating or threatening. If funds are available to a school district, it is now required for them to also provide training and education to staff and students about harassment, intimidation or bullying.
Local school districts are now required to develop their own plans to protect their staff and students from working and attending school in an environment where they feel threatened. The policies must be created with the consultation of students, parents, employees and other members of the community. There are several factors that are necessary in these new policies in order to meet this state mandate set by HB 276. Each school employee is required to report any known incidents of these now unlawful acts. For this to be possible, there has to be a set procedure for reporting. The school policy must provide protection from any financial liability for anyone who reports an incident of student harassment, intimidation or bullying. The requirements included in this law will be auditable during future reviews of individual schools.
If an incident is reported to the school administrators, they must have a procedure that will be followed in response.
As part of this response, the parent of those found in violation of the school’s policy will be notified. Any student found guilty will face disciplinary procedures, also required of the school’s policy. It is the responsibility of the school to provide all of the information within the policy to students and employees.