BY GENA HUFF, Editor
At the July 25 meeting of the Pickens County Board of Education, one of the first items on the agenda was the approval of the Jamari Terrell Williams Student Bullying Prevention Act.
The policy is named after a ten-year-old boy from Montgomery, Ala., who committed suicide in October 2017 after being bullied. This policy is expanded to cover kids off-campus as well as on and includes cyberbullying and harassment. It was signed into law by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey on May 21, 2018. The policy took effect on June 1, 2018.
The definition of bullying within the act states: “The term ‘bullying’ as used in this policy means a continuous pattern of intentional behavior that takes place on or off of school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored function, including, but not limited to, cyberbullying or written, electronic, verbal, or physical acts that are reasonably perceived as being motivated by any characteristic of a student, or by the association of a student with an individual who has a particular characteristic, if the characteristic falls into one of the categories of personal characteristics contained in the model policy adopted by the department or by a local board, and implemented at each school. To constitute bullying, a pattern of behavior may do any of the following:
• Place a student in reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or damage to his or her property.
• Have the effect of substantially interfering with the educational performance, opportunities, or benefits of a student.
• Have the effect of substantially disrupting or interfering with the orderly operation of the school, whether the conduct occurs on or off school property, online, or electronically.
• Have the effect of creating a hostile environment in the school, on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored function.
• Have the effect of being sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive enough to create an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student.”
See complete story in the Pickens County Herald.