New Bullying-Related Policy Requirements For The Coming School Year

Lozano Smith Client News Brief
May 2012
Number 22

July 1, 2012 is the deadline for California school districts to adopt two policies related to students and bullying - one to comply with changes to California law, and the other to meet eligibility requirements to receive federal E-rate funding for Internet services.

General Bullying Policy

First, new California laws require districts to have a policy specifically addressing student bullying, including a comprehensive complaint procedure and a notice of the policy to students and staff. (See Lozano Smith Client News Brief No. 62.) The new bullying requirements will also likely require districts to update their interdistrict transfer policies and technology use policies. Model policies and procedures are not yet available from the State. Districts needing assistance preparing and updating policies are encouraged to seek counsel on this matter soon to ensure compliance by the deadline.

Cyberbullying and Internet Safety Policy for E-Rate Program

The second bullying-related policy school districts must have in place by July 1, 2012, relates to the E-rate program, which provides federally funded discounts on Internet and internal computer connections for schools. To implement congressional passage of the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act, the Federal Communications Commission issued an order in August 2011 updating the certification requirements that districts must meet under the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) to fully participate in the E-rate program.

The regulations now require districts to certify that their CIPA Internet safety policy includes provisions for educating students regarding appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms and cyberbullying awareness and response. Districts that fail to implement these cyberbullying and online behavior education requirements, or do not update their policies, will be unable to make the certifications required to receive Internet access and services, and internal computer connections through the E-rate program.

Lozano Smith is preparing model policies and procedures to meet both of these requirements. If you have any questions regarding these board policies and administrative regulations or the E-rate program requirements, please feel free to contact one of our eight offices located statewide. You can also visit our website or follow Lozano Smith on Facebook.
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As the information contained herein is necessarily general, its application to a particular set of facts and circumstances may vary. For this reason, this News Brief does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you consult with your counsel prior to acting on the information contained herein.