Are there any state laws that protect me from harassment, hazing, and bullying at school?
Yes. It is the policy of the state of Vermont that all Vermont educational institutions provide “safe, orderly, civil and positive learning environments. Harassment, hazing and bullying have no place and will not be tolerated in Vermont schools” (16 V.S.A § 570).
Bullying is defined as an act (including an electronic one) directed against a student by another student or group of students that:
- is repeated over time;
- is intended to ridicule, humiliate or intimidate; and
- substantially interferes with a student’s right to a safe education regardless of whether it happens on or off school grounds (16 V.S.A § 11(a)(32)).
Harassment is defined as verbal, written, visual, or physical conduct (including by electronic means) motivated by a student’s or student’s family member’s actual or perceived characteristic such as sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression or HIV status that is intended to:
- substantially interfere with educational performance or access to school resources; or
- create an intimidating or hostile environment (16 V.S.A. § 11(a)(26)(A)).
Hazing is defined as any act against a student who is involved with a student organization which is intended to humiliate, intimidate, or demean the student or endanger the physical or mental health of the student (16 V.S.A. § 11(a)(30)(A)).