Bullying and Harassment
Florida’s Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act
Bullying has become a systemic problem nationwide. The Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act is a memorial to Jeffrey Johnston.
Under the Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act, each school district must adopt a policy prohibiting bullying and harassment of any student or employee of a public K-12 educational institution. The law requires that each school district’s policy be in substantial conformity with the Department of Education’s model policy.
Read more about the Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act (1006.147, Florida Statutes) here
- District Policies and Procedures
- Other Key Requirements
- Find Your District’s Policy Here
Florida’s Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act defines bullying and harassment as follows:
(a) “Bullying” means systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students and may involve:
- Social exclusion
- Physical violence
- Sexual, religious, or racial harassment
- Public humiliation, or
- Destruction of property
(b) “Harassment” means any threatening, insulting, or dehumanizing gesture, use of data or computer software, or written, verbal, or physical conduct directed against a student or school employee that:
- Places a student or school employee in reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or damage to his or her property;
- Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities, or benefits; or
- Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of a school.
(d) The definitions of “bullying” and “harassment” include:
- Retaliation against a student or school employee by another student or school employee for asserting or alleging an act of bullying or harassment. Reporting an act of bullying or harassment that is not made in good faith is considered retaliation.
Perpetuation of conduct listed in paragraph (a) or paragraph (b) by an individual or group with intent to demean, dehumanize, embarrass, or cause physical harm to a student or school employee by:
- Incitement or coercion;
- Accessing or knowingly causing or providing access to data or computer software through a computer, computer system, or computer network within the scope of the district school system; or
- Acting in a manner that has an effect substantially similar to the effect of bullying or harassment.
The Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act states that bullying of any student or employee of a public K-12 educational institution is prohibited:
(a) During any education program or activity conducted by a public K-12 educational institution;
(b) During any school-related or school-sponsored program or activity or on a school bus of a public K-12 educational institution; or
(c) Through the use of data or computer software that is accessed through a computer, computer system, or computer network of a public K-12 educational institution.
District Policies and Procedures
The Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act requires that each policy include the following:
The school district bullying and harassment policy shall afford all students the same protection regardless of their status under the law. The school district may establish separate discrimination policies that include categories of students. The school district shall involve students, parents, teachers, administrators, school staff, school volunteers, community representatives, and local law enforcement agencies in the process of adopting the policy. The school district policy must be implemented in a manner that is ongoing throughout the school year and integrated with a school’s curriculum, a school’s discipline policies, and other violence prevention efforts. The school district policy must contain, at a minimum, the following components:
(a) A statement prohibiting bullying and harassment.
(b) A definition of bullying and a definition of harassment that include the definitions listed in this section.
(c) A description of the type of behavior expected from each student and employee of a public K-12 educational institution.
(d) The consequences for a student or employee of a public K-12 educational institution who commits an act of bullying or harassment.
(e) The consequences for a student or employee of a public K-12 educational institution who is found to have wrongfully and intentionally accused another of an act of bullying or harassment.
(f) A procedure for reporting an act of bullying or harassment, including provisions that permit a person to anonymously report such an act. However, this paragraph does not permit formal disciplinary action to be based solely on an anonymous report.
(g) A procedure for the prompt investigation of a report of bullying or harassment and the persons responsible for the investigation. The investigation of a reported act of bullying or harassment is deemed to be a school-related activity and begins with a report of such an act. Incidents that require a reasonable investigation when reported to appropriate school authorities shall include alleged incidents of bullying or harassment allegedly committed against a child while the child is en route to school aboard a school bus or at a school bus stop.
(h) A process to investigate whether a reported act of bullying or harassment is within the scope of the district school system and, if not, a process for referral of such an act to the appropriate jurisdiction.
(i) A procedure for providing immediate notification to the parents of a victim of bullying or harassment and the parents of the perpetrator of an act of bullying or harassment, as well as notification to all local agencies where criminal charges may be pursued against the perpetrator.
(j) A procedure to refer victims and perpetrators of bullying or harassment for counseling.
(k) A procedure for including incidents of bullying or harassment in the school’s report of data concerning school safety and discipline required under s. 1006.09(6). The report must include each incident of bullying or harassment and the resulting consequences, including discipline and referrals. The report must include in a separate section each reported incident of bullying or harassment that does not meet the criteria of a prohibited act under this section with recommendations regarding such incidents. The Department of Education shall aggregate information contained in the reports.
(l) A procedure for providing instruction to students, parents, teachers, school administrators, counseling staff, and school volunteers on identifying, preventing, and responding to bullying or harassment.
(m) A procedure for regularly reporting to a victim’s parents the actions taken to protect the victim.
(n) A procedure for publicizing the policy, which must include its publication in the code of student conduct required under s. 1006.07(2) and in all employee handbooks.
Other Key Requirements
The Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act also requires the following:
(6) A school employee, school volunteer, student, or parent who promptly reports in good faith an act of bullying or harassment to the appropriate school official designated in the school district’s policy and who makes this report in compliance with the procedures set forth in the policy is immune from a cause of action for damages arising out of the reporting itself or any failure to remedy the reported incident.
(7) (a) The physical location or time of access of a computer-related incident cannot be raised as a defense in any disciplinary action initiated under this section.
(b) This section does not apply to any person who uses data or computer software that is accessed through a computer, computer system, or computer network when acting within the scope of his or her lawful employment or investigating a violation of this section in accordance with school district policy.
(8) Distribution of safe schools funds to a school district provided in the 2009-2010 General Appropriations Act is contingent upon and payable to the school district upon the Department of Education’s approval of the school district’s bullying and harassment policy. The department’s approval of each school district’s bullying and harassment policy shall be granted upon certification by the department that the school district’s policy has been submitted to the department and is in substantial conformity with the department’s model bullying and harassment policy as mandated in subsection (5). Distribution of safe schools funds provided to a school district in fiscal year 2010-2011 and thereafter shall be contingent upon and payable to the school district upon the school district’s compliance with all reporting procedures contained in this section.
(9) On or before January 1 of each year, the Commissioner of Education shall report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives on the implementation of this section. The report shall include data collected pursuant to paragraph (4)(k).
Find Your District’s Policy Here
- Alachua - Policy 5517.01
- Baker -Policy 5.101
- Bay - Policy 7.207
- Clay - Policy 1.12
- DeSoto - starts on page 498
- Flagler - Policy 511.2
- Escambia - Policy 7.18
- Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind
- Gadsden - starts on page 147
- Gilchrist - starts on page 8
- Glades - starts on page 9
- Hillsborough - under "students" (policy 5517.01)
- Holmes - starts on page 11
- Indian River - starts on page 26
- Jackson - starts on page 11
- Lafayette - starts on page 158
- Liberty - pages 7-8, 17
- Levy - starts on page 75
- Madison - Policy 5.27 on page 219
- Manatee - starts on page 333
- Martin - Policy 5517.01
- Miami Dade - Policy 5517.01
- Orange - starts on page 31
- Osceola - starts on page 167
- Palm Beach - Policy 5.002
- Santa Rosa
- Sarasota - Policy 5.323
- Seminole - starts on page 255
- St Johns
- St Lucie - Policy 3.43
- Taylor - starts on page 206
- Union - Policy 5.101
- Volusia - Policy 525
- Washington - starts on page 29
- Stop Bullying Now Campaign: The Florida Department of Education (FDOE) has adopted U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) the “Stop Bullying Now” Campaign to launch Florida’s Statewide Campaign to Stop Bullying Now!
- Florida Department of Education’s Technical Assistance Paper on Bullying
- 6A-19.008 Educational and Work Environment: It is the policy of the State of Florida, and institutions have an affirmative duty, to create an educational and work environment free of harassment on the basis of race, sex, national origin or handicap
- OlWEUS State and Federal Bulling Information
- Bully Police Florida: Information and Resources for Parents dealing with Bullying Issues
- Stop Bullying Now: Information and Resources for Parents dealing with Bullying Issues
- Stop Bullying Now: Information and Resources for Students dealing with Bullying Issues
- Bullying Facts: Articles on How to Help Your Child Deal with a Bully
- Information about bullying and free resources
- Wrightslaw Website Stop Bullying Now
- Dr. Phil offers insight and advice, including how to launch an anti-bullying campaign in your school
- United States Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Dear Colleague Letter and Enclosure – August 2013.