Putting Education Reform To The Test


What "Bullying" Means in Florida Schools


Courtesy of Sheri Leitch

Shayne Ijames, 13, committed suicide in Port St. Lucie on May 2, 2012. The family suspects he was bullied after a text message came in on his phone that said, "happy funeral."

In Florida, “bullying” means: systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students.

It may involve:

  • Teasing
  • Social exclusion
  • Threat
  • Intimidation
  • Stalking
  • Physical violence
  • Theft
  • Sexual, religious, or racial harassment
  • Public humiliation
  • Destruction of property

In 2008, the Florida Department of Education required each school district to create a policy prohibiting bulling. Each school district creates its own policy based on the FDOE guide. 

Section 1006.147 of the Florida Statutes says bullying or harassment 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.

“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:

  1. Places a student or school employee in reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or damage to his or her property
  2. Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities, or benefits
  3. Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of a school.

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