Law Punishes Off-Campus Bullying

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The Jessica Logan Act, which was passed in Ohio in January, gives schools authority to discipline students who partake in bullying off school grounds.

The goal of this law is to prevent bullying occurring through electronic communication devices, such as cell phones and computers.

The District’s Policies and Procedures of Behavior and Discipline Governing Students’ Rights and Responsibilities states that “harassment, intimidation and bullying are prohibited in school, on school property, on the way to and from school, and at school-sponsored events.” Shaker.org writes that “no student shall persecute, threaten or participate in any act or acts that injure degrade or disgrace any student. Hazing is banned in any form.”

Under the new state law, by next November, that policy must include language about bullying that occurs off campus through technology.

Existing state law requires school districts to compile and publish “incidents of harassment, intimidation and/or bullying leading to suspension or expulsion.” According to the district website, in the 2010-11 school year, there were two such reported incidents of bullying at Shaker K-4 schools, six at Woodbury, and 33 at the middle school. There were nine at the high school.

State law defines harassment, intimidation or bullying as “any intentional, written, verbal or physical act that a student has exhibited toward another particular student more than once and the behavior causes mental or physical harm and is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, threatening or abusive educational or work environment, without displaying a weapon and without subjecting the victim to actual physical attack.”

The district handbook urges any victims of bullying to notify the school office so that a report can be made, which can be anonymous per request. All reported incidents will be documented and investigated, and the parents/guardians of all students will be notified.

Junior Didi Shiloh is the president of Gay Straight Alliance, a Core member and SGORR leader. “In reality, ignorance seems to be the root for any negative thought or behavior,” she said.

“Keep your mind open and get to know a different person. That’s how we learn and grow, through interaction.”

A version of this article appeared in print on March 20 2012, on page 4 of The Shakerite

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