In order to take part in certification, a school must abide by their state safe school law. A concrete safe schools or anti-bullying policy is one that makes clear schools are to be safe for all students. A policy is critical to establishing a common understanding across a school’s community. Such policies should include a statement of enumeration – in which specific groups of individuals who tend to be at higher risk for being bullied or harassed are named. The statement of enumeration emphasizes that all students are covered under the policy regardless of their characteristics.
Communities with enumeration statements have shown overall better outcomes, including decreased drug and alcohol use, decreased reports of bullying, and decreased suicidal behaviors, particularly for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.
Sample Enumerated Policy:
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-407.15(a) (2010): “Bullying or harassing behavior includes, but is not limited to, acts reasonably perceived as being motivated by any actual or perceived differentiating characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, socioeconomic status, academic status, gender identity, physical appearance, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, developmental, or sensory disability, or by association with a person who has or is perceived to have one or more of these characteristics.”
To read the U.S. Department of Education’s Analysis of State Bullying Laws and Policies, click here.