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Policies Must Include Cyberbullying by October 2015

Kacie Kefgen

By Kacie Kefgen, MASB Assistant Director of Labor Relations and Legal Services

DashBoard, Feb. 4, 2015

Changes to the state’s school bullying statute will take effect April 1 requiring that schools’ policies and procedures include cyberbullying as a form of bullying. The revised statute gives districts until October 2015 to make the required changes to their policies. This Public Act defines cyberbullying as:

any electronic communication that is intended or that a reasonable person would know is likely to harm one or more pupils either directly or indirectly by doing any of the following:

(i) substantially interfering with the educational opportunities, benefits or programs of one or more pupils.

(ii) adversely affecting the ability of a pupil to participate in or benefit from the school district’s or public school’s educational programs or activities by placing the pupil in reasonable fear of physical harm or by causing substantial emotional distress.

(iii) having an actual and substantial detrimental effect on a pupil’s physical or mental health. 

(iv) causing substantial disruption in, or substantial interference with, the orderly operation of the school.

The revisions also require schools to assure that school policies include “an assurance of confidentiality” for someone reporting bullying, as well as “procedures to safeguard that confidentiality.”

Finally, the Michigan Department of Education will begin to collect data about reported incidents of bullying.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the MASB Legal Services Department at 517.327.5914 or kkefgen@masb.org.

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