Senate Study Bill 1044 - Introduced SENATE/HOUSE FILE _____ BY (PROPOSED GOVERNOR BILL) A BILL FOR An Act relating to state and school antiharassment and 1 antibullying policies, providing for training for school 2 personnel, establishing a bullying and violence prevention 3 student mentoring pilot program, and making appropriations. 4 BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA: 5 TLSB 1414XL (4) 86 je/nh
S.F. _____ H.F. _____ Section 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act shall be known and may be 1 cited as the “Bully Free Iowa Act of 2015”. 2 Sec. 2. Section 256.9, Code 2015, is amended by adding the 3 following new subsection: 4 NEW SUBSECTION . 66. Subject to an appropriation of funds by 5 the general assembly, ensure each school district has access to 6 adequate training on conducting investigations of complaints of 7 incidents of harassment or bullying pursuant to section 280.28 8 by offering such training on an annual basis to at least one 9 employee per district. 10 Sec. 3. NEW SECTION . 256.34 Bullying and violence 11 prevention student mentoring pilot program. 12 1. Subject to an appropriation of funds by the general 13 assembly, the department shall establish a student mentoring 14 pilot program to explore how student leadership can help 15 prevent bullying and violence in schools. The program shall 16 promote best practices for bullying and violence prevention for 17 middle and high school students. 18 2. The department shall establish the program in at least 19 two middle schools and two high schools in the state. 20 3. The department shall establish criteria for the 21 selection of participating schools and evaluation of the 22 program. 23 Sec. 4. Section 280.28, subsection 2, paragraphs a and c, 24 Code 2015, are amended to read as follows: 25 a. “Electronic” means any communication involving the 26 transmission of information by wire, radio, optical cable, 27 electromagnetic, or other similar means. “Electronic” includes 28 but is not limited to communication via electronic mail, 29 internet-based communications including social networking 30 sites , pager service, cell phones, and electronic text 31 messaging , or any other electronic communication site, device, 32 or means . 33 c. “Trait or characteristic of the student” includes 34 but is not limited to age, color, creed, national origin, 35 -1- LSB 1414XL (4) 86 je/nh 1/ 7
S.F. _____ H.F. _____ race, religion, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, 1 gender identity, physical attributes, physical or mental 2 ability or disability, ancestry, political party preference, 3 political belief, socioeconomic status, or familial status , 4 behavior, friendship or relationship with others, or any 5 other distinguishing characteristic. This paragraph shall be 6 construed broadly to achieve the purposes of this section . 7 Sec. 5. Section 280.28, subsection 3, Code 2015, is amended 8 by adding the following new paragraph: 9 NEW PARAGRAPH . h. A procedure for the prompt notification 10 of the parents or guardians of all students directly involved 11 in a reported incident of harassment or bullying. The 12 procedure shall include an exception to the notification 13 requirement if a school official or a student who is the target 14 of harassment or bullying reasonably believes notification 15 would subject the targeted student to rejection, abuse, or 16 neglect related to actual or perceived sexual orientation, 17 gender identity, or gender expression. 18 Sec. 6. Section 280.28, Code 2015, is amended by adding the 19 following new subsection: 20 NEW SUBSECTION . 9. Authority off school grounds. A school 21 official may investigate and impose school discipline or take 22 other action in the case of an alleged incident of harassment 23 or bullying that occurs outside of school, off of school 24 property, or away from a school function or school-sponsored 25 activity if all of the following apply: 26 a. A parent, guardian, student, school employee, or 27 volunteer reports an incident of harassment or bullying 28 pursuant to the school’s policy adopted under subsection 3, 29 paragraph “e” . 30 b. The alleged incident of harassment or bullying has an 31 effect on school grounds that creates an objectively hostile 32 school environment that meets one or more of the conditions set 33 out under subsection 2, paragraph “b” . 34 Sec. 7. Section 282.18, subsection 11, Code 2015, is amended 35 -2- LSB 1414XL (4) 86 je/nh 2/ 7
S.F. _____ H.F. _____ to read as follows: 1 11. A pupil who participates in open enrollment for purposes 2 of attending a grade in grades nine through twelve in a school 3 district other than the district of residence is ineligible to 4 participate in varsity interscholastic athletic contests and 5 athletic competitions during the pupil’s first ninety school 6 days of enrollment in the district except that the pupil may 7 participate immediately in a varsity interscholastic sport if 8 the pupil is entering grade nine for the first time and did 9 not participate in an interscholastic athletic competition for 10 another school or school district during the summer immediately 11 following eighth grade, if the district of residence and the 12 other school district jointly participate in the sport, if the 13 sport in which the pupil wishes to participate is not offered 14 in the district of residence, if the pupil chooses to use open 15 enrollment to attend school in another school district because 16 the district in which the student previously attended school 17 was dissolved and merged with one or more contiguous school 18 districts under section 256.11, subsection 12 , if the pupil 19 participates in open enrollment because the pupil’s district 20 of residence has entered into a whole grade sharing agreement 21 with another district for the pupil’s grade, or if the parent 22 or guardian of the pupil participating in open enrollment is 23 an active member of the armed forces and resides in permanent 24 housing on government property provided by a branch of the 25 armed services , or if the district of residence determines 26 that the pupil was previously subject to a founded incident 27 of harassment or bullying as defined in section 280.28 while 28 attending school in the district of residence and both the 29 district of residence and the other school district agree 30 to allow the pupil to participate immediately in a varsity 31 interscholastic sport . A pupil who has paid tuition and 32 attended school, or has attended school pursuant to a mutual 33 agreement between the two districts, in a district other than 34 the pupil’s district of residence for at least one school year 35 -3- LSB 1414XL (4) 86 je/nh 3/ 7
S.F. _____ H.F. _____ is also eligible to participate immediately in interscholastic 1 athletic contests and athletic competitions under this section , 2 but only as a member of a team from the district that pupil 3 had attended. For purposes of this subsection , “school days of 4 enrollment” does not include enrollment in summer school. For 5 purposes of this subsection , “varsity” means the same as defined 6 in section 256.46 . 7 Sec. 8. APPROPRIATIONS. There is appropriated from the 8 general fund of the state to the department of education 9 for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2015, and ending June 10 30, 2016, the following amounts, or so much thereof as is 11 necessary, to be used for the purposes designated: 12 1. For the provision of training on conducting 13 investigations of complaints of incidents of harassment or 14 bullying pursuant to section 256.9, subsection 66: 15 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 150,000 16 The department shall utilize a request for proposals process 17 to implement the training. 18 2. For the establishment of a bullying and violence 19 prevention student mentoring pilot program pursuant to section 20 256.34: 21 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 50,000 22 The department shall utilize a request for proposals process 23 to implement the pilot program. 24 EXPLANATION 25 The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with 26 the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly. 27 This bill requires the director of the department of 28 education, subject to an appropriation of funds by the general 29 assembly, to ensure each school district has access to adequate 30 training on conducting investigations of complaints of 31 incidents of harassment or bullying pursuant to Code section 32 280.28 by offering such training on an annual basis to at least 33 one employee per district. 34 The bill requires the department of education, subject to an 35 -4- LSB 1414XL (4) 86 je/nh 4/ 7
S.F. _____ H.F. _____ appropriation of funds by the general assembly, to establish 1 a student mentoring pilot program to explore how student 2 leadership can help prevent bullying and violence in schools. 3 The program shall promote best practices for bullying and 4 violence prevention for middle and high school students. The 5 department must establish the program in at least two middle 6 schools and two high schools. The department must establish 7 criteria for selection of participating schools and evaluation 8 of the program. 9 The bill modifies the definition of “electronic” under state 10 law relating to school antiharassment and antibullying policies 11 by adding any other electronic communication site, device, or 12 means to the definition and by including social networking 13 sites as part of the term “internet-based communications”. 14 The bill modifies the definition of “harassment” and 15 “bullying” under state law relating to school antiharassment 16 and antibullying policies by adding behavior, friendship 17 or relationship with others, or any other distinguishing 18 characteristic to the definition. The bill provides that the 19 definition of “harassment” and “bullying” is to be construed 20 broadly to achieve the purposes of the law. 21 The bill requires school antiharassment and antibullying 22 policies to include a procedure for the prompt notification of 23 the parents or guardians of all students directly involved in 24 a reported incident of harassment or bullying. The procedure 25 must include an exception to the notification requirement if a 26 school official or a student who is the target of harassment 27 or bullying reasonably believes notification would subject the 28 targeted student to rejection, abuse, or neglect related to 29 actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or 30 gender expression. 31 The bill grants school officials the authority to 32 investigate and impose school discipline or take other action 33 in cases of alleged incidents of harassment or bullying that 34 occur outside of school, off of school property, or away from 35 -5- LSB 1414XL (4) 86 je/nh 5/ 7
S.F. _____ H.F. _____ school functions or school-sponsored activities if certain 1 conditions are met. Those conditions are that a parent, 2 guardian, student, school employee, or volunteer reports an 3 incident of harassment or bullying pursuant to the school’s 4 antiharassment and antibullying policy; and that the alleged 5 incident of harassment or bullying has an effect on school 6 grounds that creates an objectively hostile school environment 7 that places the student in reasonable fear of harm to the 8 student’s person or property; has a substantially detrimental 9 effect on the student’s physical or mental health; has the 10 effect of substantially interfering with a student’s academic 11 performance; or has the effect of substantially interfering 12 with the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from 13 the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school. 14 Current law provides that a high school student who 15 participates in open enrollment in a school district other 16 than the student’s district of residence is ineligible to 17 participate in varsity interscholastic athletic contests and 18 athletic competitions during the student’s first 90 school 19 days of enrollment in the district. However, a student may 20 participate in a varsity interscholastic sport immediately upon 21 open enrollment under various exceptions to that requirement. 22 The bill adds an additional exception if a student’s 23 district of residence determines that the student was 24 previously subject to a founded incident of harassment or 25 bullying while attending school in the district of residence 26 and both the district of residence and the other school 27 district agree to allow the pupil to participate immediately in 28 a varsity interscholastic sport. 29 Under Code section 280.28, subsection 2, “harassment” and 30 “bullying” shall be construed to mean any electronic, written, 31 verbal, or physical act or conduct toward a student which is 32 based on any actual or perceived trait or characteristic of 33 the student and which creates an objectively hostile school 34 environment that meets one or more of certain conditions. 35 -6- LSB 1414XL (4) 86 je/nh 6/ 7
S.F. _____ H.F. _____ The bill appropriates from the general fund of the state to 1 the department of education for fiscal year 2015-2016, $150,000 2 for the provision of training on conducting investigations of 3 complaints of incidents of harassment or bullying pursuant to 4 the bill. 5 The bill appropriates from the general fund to the 6 department of education for fiscal year 2015-2016, $50,000 for 7 the establishment of a bullying and violence prevention student 8 mentoring pilot program pursuant to the bill. 9 The department must utilize a request for proposals process 10 to implement the training and the pilot program. 11 -7- LSB 1414XL (4) 86 je/nh 7/ 7