State and local lawmakers have taken action to prevent bullying and protect children.1 Each jurisdiction, including all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories (state), addresses bullying differently. Some have established laws, policies, and regulations.2 Others have developed model policies schools and local educational agencies (districts) can use as they develop their own local laws, policies and regulations. Most state laws, policies, and regulations require districts and schools to implement a bullying policy and procedures to investigate and respond to bullying when it occurs. A handful of states also require bullying prevention programs, inclusion of bullying prevention in health education standards, and/or teacher professional development. These state laws generally do not prescribe specific consequences for kids who engage in bullying behavior, and very few classify bullying as a criminal offense. Further, states may address bullying, cyberbullying, and related behaviors in a single law or across multiple laws. In some cases, bullying appears in the criminal code of a state that may apply to juveniles.
In December 2010, the U.S. Department of Education developed a framework of common components found in state laws, policies, and regulations focused on bullying at the time. The framework was used to describe how schools were taking action to prevent and respond to bullying incidents. The common components found in state laws, policies, and regulations – which have evolved over time – include definitions of bullying, defining characteristics that are commonly targeted for bullying behaviors, and detailed requirements for school district policies. The table below presents which set of components are addressed in each state’s laws, policies, and regulations, allowing for a quick comparison of how each state compares. Click on your state below to find out more about your state’s anti-bullying laws and policies and which of the key components they contain.