Iowa School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Bullying, Harassment, or Hazing

Discipline Compendium

Iowa School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Bullying, Harassment, or Hazing

Category: Discipline Addressing Specific Code of Conduct Violations
Subcategory: Bullying, Harassment, or Hazing
State: Iowa

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LAWS

280.12. School improvement advisory committee.

The board of directors of each public school district and the authorities in charge of each nonpublic school shall do the following:

1. Appoint a school improvement advisory committee to make recommendations to the board or authorities. The advisory committee shall consist of members representing students, parents, teachers, administrators, and representatives from the local community, which may include representatives of business, industry, labor, community agencies, higher education, or other community constituents. To the extent possible, committee membership shall have balanced representation with regard to race, gender, national origin, and disability.

2. Utilize the recommendations from the school improvement advisory committee to determine the following:

f. Harassment or bullying prevention goals, programs, training, and other initiatives.

280.28. Harassment and bullying prohibited–policy–immunity.

1. Purpose–findings–policy. The state of Iowa is committed to providing all students with a safe and civil school environment in which all members of the school community are treated with dignity and respect. The general assembly finds that a safe and civil school environment is necessary for students to learn and achieve at high academic levels. Harassing and bullying behavior can seriously disrupt the ability of school employees to maintain a safe and civil environment, and the ability of students to learn and succeed. Therefore, it is the policy of the state of Iowa that school employees, volunteers, and students in Iowa schools shall not engage in harassing or bullying behavior.

2. Definitions. For purposes of this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

a. "Electronic" means any communication involving the transmission of information by wire, radio, optical cable, electromagnetic, or other similar means. "Electronic" includes but is not limited to communication via electronic mail, internet-based communications, pager service, cell phones, and electronic text messaging.

b. "Harassment" and "bullying" shall be construed to mean any electronic, written, verbal, or physical act or conduct toward a student which is based on any actual or perceived trait or characteristic of the student and which creates an objectively hostile school environment that meets one or more of the following conditions:

(1) Places the student in reasonable fear of harm to the student's person or property.

(2) Has a substantially detrimental effect on the student's physical or mental health.

(3) Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student's academic performance.

(4) Has the effect of substantially interfering with the student's ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.

c. "Trait or characteristic of the student" includes but is not limited to age, color, creed, national origin, race, religion, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical attributes, physical or mental ability or disability, ancestry, political party preference, political belief, socioeconomic status, or familial status.

d. "Volunteer" means an individual who has regular, significant contact with students.

3. Policy. On or before September 1, 2007, the board of directors of a school district and the authorities in charge of each accredited nonpublic school shall adopt a policy declaring harassment and bullying in schools, on school property, and at any school function, or school-sponsored activity regardless of its location, in a manner consistent with this section, as against state and school policy. The board and the authorities shall make a copy of the policy available to all school employees, volunteers, students, and parents or guardians and shall take all appropriate steps to bring the policy against harassment and bullying and the responsibilities set forth in the policy to the attention of school employees, volunteers, students, and parents or guardians. Each policy shall, at a minimum, include all of the following components:

a. A statement declaring harassment and bullying to be against state and school policy. The statement shall include but not be limited to the following provisions:

(1) School employees, volunteers, and students in school, on school property, or at any school function or school-sponsored activity shall not engage in harassing and bullying behavior.

(2) School employees, volunteers, and students shall not engage in reprisal, retaliation, or false accusation against a victim, witness, or an individual who has reliable information about such an act of harassment or bullying.

b. A definition of harassment and bullying as set forth in this section.

c. A description of the type of behavior expected from school employees, volunteers, parents or guardians, and students relative to prevention measures, reporting, and investigation of harassment or bullying.

d. The consequences and appropriate remedial action for a person who violates the antiharassment and antibullying policy.

e. A procedure for reporting an act of harassment or bullying, including the identification by job title of the school official responsible for ensuring that the policy is implemented, and the identification of the person or persons responsible for receiving reports of harassment or bullying.

f. A procedure for the prompt investigation of complaints, either identifying the school superintendent or the superintendent's designee as the individual responsible for conducting the investigation, including a statement that investigators will consider the totality of circumstances presented in determining whether conduct objectively constitutes harassment or bullying under this section.

g. A statement of the manner in which the policy will be publicized.

4. Programs encouraged. The board of directors of a school district and the authorities in charge of each accredited nonpublic school are encouraged to establish programs designed to eliminate harassment and bullying in schools. To the extent that funds are available for these purposes, school districts and accredited nonpublic schools shall do the following:

a. Provide training on antiharassment and antibullying policies to school employees and volunteers who have significant contact with students.

b. Develop a process to provide school employees, volunteers, and students with the skills and knowledge to help reduce incidents of harassment and bullying.

5. Immunity. A school employee, volunteer, or student, or a student's parent or guardian who promptly, reasonably, and in good faith reports an incident of harassment or bullying, in compliance with the procedures in the policy adopted pursuant to this section, to the appropriate school official designated by the school district or accredited nonpublic school, shall be immune from civil or criminal liability relating to such report and to participation in any administrative or judicial proceeding resulting from or relating to the report.

6. Collection requirement. The board of directors of a school district and the authorities in charge of each nonpublic school shall develop and maintain a system to collect harassment and bullying incidence data.

7. Integration of policy and reporting. The board of directors of a school district and the authorities in charge of each nonpublic school shall integrate its antiharassment and antibullying policy into the comprehensive school improvement plan required under section 256.7, subsection 21, and shall report data collected under subsection 6, as specified by the department, to the local community.

8. Existing remedies not affected. This section shall not be construed to preclude a victim from seeking administrative or legal remedies under any applicable provision of law.

282.18. Open enrollment.

11.a. A pupil who participates in open enrollment for purposes of attending a grade in grades nine through twelve in a school district other than the district of residence is ineligible to participate in varsity interscholastic athletic contests and athletic competitions during the pupil's first ninety school days of enrollment in the district. However, a pupil may participate immediately in a varsity interscholastic sport under any of the following circumstances:

(7) If the district of residence determines that the pupil was previously subject to a founded incident of harassment or bullying as defined in section 280.28 while attending school in the district of residence.

708.10. Hazing.

1.a. A person commits an act of hazing when the person intentionally or recklessly engages in any act or acts involving forced activity which endanger the physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of initiation or admission into, or affiliation with, any organization operating in connection with a school, college, or university. Prohibited acts include, but are not limited to, any brutality of a physical nature such as whipping, forced confinement, or any other forced activity which endangers the physical health or safety of the student.

b. For purposes of this section, "forced activity" means any activity which is a condition of initiation or admission into, or affiliation with, an organization, regardless of a student's willingness to participate in the activity.

2. A person who commits an act of hazing is guilty of a simple misdemeanor.

3. A person who commits an act of hazing which causes serious bodily injury to another is guilty of a serious misdemeanor.

REGULATIONS

281-12.3(13). Policy declaring harassment and bullying against state and school policy.

12.3(6) Student responsibility and discipline. The board shall adopt student responsibility and discipline policies as required by Iowa Code section 279.8. The board shall involve parents, students, instructional and noninstructional professional staff, and community members in the development and revision of those policies where practicable or unless specific policy is mandated by legislation. The policies shall relate to the educational purposes of the school or school district. The policies shall include, but are not limited to, the following: attendance; use of tobacco; the use or possession of alcoholic beverages or any controlled substance; harassment of or by students and staff as detailed in subrule 12.3(13); violent, destructive, and seriously disruptive behavior; suspension, expulsion, emergency removal, weapons, and physical restraint; out-of-school behavior; participation in extracurricular activities; academic progress; and citizenship. [...]

12.3(13) Policy declaring harassment and bullying against state and school policy. The policy adopted by the board regarding harassment of or by students and staff shall declare harassment and bullying in schools, on school property, and at any school function or school-sponsored activity regardless of its location to be against state and school policy. The board shall make a copy of the policy available to all school employees, volunteers, students, and parents or guardians and shall take all appropriate steps to bring the policy against harassment and bullying and the responsibilities set forth in the policy to the attention of school employees, volunteers, students, and parents or guardians. Each policy shall, at a minimum, include all of the following components:

a. A statement declaring harassment and bullying to be against state and school policy. The statement shall include but not be limited to the following provisions:

(1) School employees, volunteers, and students in school, on school property, or at any school function or school-sponsored activity shall not engage in harassing and bullying behavior.

(2) School employees, volunteers, and students shall not engage in reprisal, retaliation, or false accusation against a victim, a witness, or an individual who has reliable information about such an act of harassment or bullying.

b. A definition of harassment and bullying consistent with the following: Harassment and bullying shall be construed to mean any electronic, written, verbal, or physical act or conduct toward a student which is based on the student's actual or perceived age, color, creed, national origin, race, religion, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical attributes, physical or mental ability or disability, ancestry, political party preference, political belief, socioeconomic status, or familial status, and which creates an objectively hostile school environment that meets one or more of the following conditions:

(1) Places the student in reasonable fear of harm to the student's person or property.

(2) Has a substantially detrimental effect on the student's physical or mental health.

(3) Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student's academic performance.

(4) Has the effect of substantially interfering with the student's ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school. The local board policy must set forth all 17 of the above-enumerated traits or characteristics, but does not need to be limited to the 17 enumerated traits or characteristics.

c. A description of the type of behavior expected from school employees, volunteers, parents or guardians, and students relative to prevention, reporting, and investigation of harassment or bullying.

d. The consequences and appropriate remedial action for a person who violates the antiharassment and antibullying policy.

e. A procedure for reporting an act of harassment or bullying, including the identification by job title of the school official responsible for ensuring that the policy is implemented, and the identification of the person or persons responsible for receiving reports of harassment or bullying.

f. A procedure for the prompt investigation of complaints, identifying either the school superintendent or the superintendent's designee as the individual responsible for conducting the investigation, including a statement that investigators will consider the totality of circumstances presented in determining whether conduct objectively constitutes harassment or bullying under this subrule.

g. A statement of the manner in which the policy will be publicized.

The board shall integrate its policy into its comprehensive school improvement plan. The board shall develop and maintain a system to collect harassment and bullying incidence data, and report such data, on forms specified by the department, to the local community and to the department.

281-12.8(256). Accountability for student achievement.

12.8(2) School improvement advisory committee. To meet requirements of Iowa Code section 280.12(2) as amended by 2007 Iowa Acts, Senate File 61, section 1, the board shall appoint and charge a school improvement advisory committee to make recommendations to the board. Based on the committee members' analysis of the needs assessment data, the committee shall make recommendations to the board about the following components:

1. Major educational needs;

2. Student learning goals;

3. Long-range goals that include, but are not limited to, the state indicators that address reading, mathematics, and science achievement; and

4. Harassment or bullying prevention goals, programs, training, and other initiatives.

American Institutes for Research

U.S. Department of Education

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