The legislature has enacted specific guidelines for errant student behavior beginning in 2014. Specifically an option for flexibility to school administrators when dealing previously with court action offenses and further information about bullying and creating a bully-free environment. The first guideline should be welcome to school principals/assistant principals; the second sounds good but will it work in practice?
Flexibility for Reportable Offenses
HB164 (Robinson) amended the code to give administrators options when a student commits a reportable offense to allow schools to treat ” (a)school based offense through graduated sanctions or educational programming before a delinquency charge is filed by the court.”
HB1871 (McClellan) added a definition to bullying to “..include cyber bullying. ‘Bullying’ does not include ordinary teasing, horseplay, argument or peer conflict.” This deliniation of behaviors that may not be a part of the definition of bullying should give administrators flexibility to deal with minor student issues which previously could be identified as bullying and giving parents the impetus to push any minor adolescent behavior as bullying.
In addition McClellan’s bill includes the following: each “Board of Education shall implement by July 1, 2014, policies and procedures to educate school board employees about bullying” and “…the need to create a bully-free environment.” The State Board of Education, by January 1, 2014, shall ..”implement model policies and procedures for use by each (local) school board to educate school board employees about bullying..and the need to create a bully-free environment.”
Stay tuned to see how the “bully-free ” environments develop and at what level of success.
You may access this information at: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/administrators/superintendents_memos/2013/323-13.shtml