Changes to Virginia’s School Bullying Law

Jul 7, 2023 | Bullying, State Standards

Virginia’s school bullying law has changed.

The revised law requires school boards to enact policies and procedures that direct the principal of each public school (or their designee) to notify the parent of any student who is involved in an alleged bullying incident within 24 hours of learning of the allegation.

This is a change from the previous law that only required the principal to notify the parent of a student involved in an alleged bullying incident of the status of any investigation within five school days. Now, schools must provide notice to the parent much sooner, whether or not an investigation has been opened.

As before, school divisions are still required to have policies and procedures prohibiting bullying that are consistent with state standards. Bullying is defined in Virginia as: “any aggressive and unwanted behavior that is intended to harm, intimidate, or humiliate the victim; involves a real or perceived power imbalance between the aggressor or aggressors and victim; and is repeated over time or causes severe emotional trauma. Bullying includes cyber bullying. Bullying does not include ordinary teasing, horseplay, argument, or peer conflict.”

The change took effect July 1, 2023.