Anti-bullying legislation is a legislation enacted to help reduce and eliminate bullying. This legislation may be national or sub-national and is commonly aimed at ending bullying in schools or workplaces.

According to one study, state-level anti-bullying legislation in the United States was associated with reductions in bullying, depression and suicidal ideation. The large impacts were observed for female teenagers and LGBT teenagers. For female teenagers, the suicide rate declined by 13-16%.[1]



The Republic Act 10627 or the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013 was signed into law by former President Benigno Aquino III on September 6, 2013. The law requires all elementary and secondary schools in the country to adopt an anti-bullying policy. According to a study conducted in 2008 by the Britain-based Plan International, 50 percent of school children in the Philippines experienced bullying either by their teachers or their peers.[2][3]

North America


This law occurred in 2012. The provincial government of Quebec initiated legislation providing for anti-bullying laws, with the Quebec law having come into effect in 2012.[4] Federal politicians also debated the groundwork for a national anti-bullying strategy the same year.[5]

United States


All fifty states in the United States have passed school anti-bullying legislation, the first being Georgia in 1999.[6] Montana became the most recent, and last, state to adopt anti-bullying legislation in April 2015. A watchdog organization called Bully Police USA advocates for and reports on anti-bullying legislation.[7]

North Dakota's legislature passed and Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed a bill into law April 22, 2011, which defines bullying in state law and outlines prevention policies for North Dakota public schools. North Dakota has been praised for their new law. Prior to its passage, North Dakota has passed an anti-bullying legislation.[citation needed]

Georgia's anti-bullying legislation was strengthened in 2010 with the passage of Senate Bill 250, which included a provision allowing for those accused of bullying another student to be reassigned to another school in order to separate the offender from the victim of bullying.[8]

The Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act is part of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. It provides federal support to promote school safety but does not specifically address bullying and harassment in schools. There are no federal laws dealing directly with school bullying;[9] however, bullying may trigger responsibilities under one or more of the federal anti-discrimination laws enforced by the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.[10]

In September 2011, the State of New Jersey started enforcing the toughest bullying law in the country. Each school has to report each case of bullying to the State, and the State will grade each school based on bullying standards, policies, and incidents. Each school must have an effective plan to deal with bullying. All school administrators and teachers are required to deal with any incidents of bullying reported to them or witnessed by them. Teachers must report any bullying incidents they witness to the administrators. Bullies risk suspensions to expulsions if convicted of any type of bullying; from minor teasing to severe cases.

Nobel Peace Prize nominee and world-renowned anti-bullying expert Christina Catalano has stated that "[bullied individuals] can suffer from various issues such as the lack of confidence, problems in academics, social anxiety and the fear of public speaking."[11] In addition, prominent legal scholar Jonathan Burley has stated "bullying is an extremely serious injustice towards our children" and has been a consistent advocate of anti-bullying legislation.[12]

Others have been more critical of this legislation for being punitive and criminalizing the issue.[13]

Although there currently exists no federal assistance for anti-bullying, Thursday's Child[14] offers a 24-hour helpline for children, teens and young adults in the U.S., who are bullying victims, at 1 (800) USA KIDS or (818) 831-1234 from a mobile device. Currently, it is the only such helpline in North America.


The National School Safety and Security Services questions the motive behind some anti-bullying legislation. The line between "feel-good legislation" and "meaningful legislation" is not clear at the moment and The National School Safety and Security Services suggests "unfunded state mandates and an overemphasis on any one component of school safety will likely have minimal impact on school safety and could potentially upset the comprehensive approach to school safety recommended by most school safety professionals."[15]

According to National Safety and Securities Services "Anti-bullying legislation, typically an unfunded mandate requiring schools to have anti-bullying policies but providing no financial resources to improve school climate and security, offer more political hype than substance for helping school administrators address the problem."[15]

Gail Garinger, Child Advocate for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, advises legislators not to push new legislation each time the media highlights a new bullying incident, saying, "Maybe a new law is needed in your state to deal with a situation, but don’t rush to do it. Sit down. Really talk about what happened." She adds, "I think school officials have gotten really frightened because of what’s been occurring, and it’s much easier to take a zero-tolerance approach and just label everything quickly as bullying and pass it on to someone else to deal with, rather than try to work out a creative solution within the school that’s best for everyone involved."[16]

LGBTQ bullying

Main article: LGBT bullying

Some states of the United States have implemented laws to address school bullying.
  Law that prohibits discrimination against students based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  School regulation or ethical code for teachers that address discrimination and/or bullying of students based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  Law that prohibits discrimination against students based on sexual orientation only
  School regulation or ethical code for teachers that address discrimination and/or bullying of students based on sexual orientation only
  Law that prohibits bullying of students based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  Law that forbids local school districts from having anti-bullying policies that enumerate protected classes of students
  Law that prohibits bullying in school but lists no categories of protection
  No statewide law that specifically prohibits bullying in schools

Anti-bullying legislation received national attention after the suicide of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi.[17] In the wake of the incident, New Jersey strengthened its anti-bullying legislation by passing a bill called "The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights".[18] Garden State Equality Chairman Steve Goldstein called New Jersey's bill the "toughest" anti-bullying law in the country. The bill states administrators who do not investigate reports of bullying can be disciplined.[19]

Various organizations provide resources and support to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. These organizations include The Trevor Project, The Tyler Clementi Foundation, It Gets Better Project, and The Matthew Shepard Foundation.[20]


Main article: Cyberbullying

According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, approximately 20 percent of children age 11-18 have been victims of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is defined by Sameer Hinduja and Justin Patchin as "willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices."[21] Cyberbullying can occur 24 hours a day, seven days a week.[22]

In August 2008, the California State Legislature passed a law directly related with cyber-bullying. The legislation gives school administrators the authority to discipline students for bullying others offline or online.[23]

Many states already have existing criminal and civil remedies to deal with cyberbullying; extreme cases would fall under criminal harassment or stalking laws or targets of such extreme bullying could pursue civil action for intentional infliction of emotional distress or defamation. In the summer of 2011, Public Act 11-232 made significant changes to the state of Connecticut statute which defines bullying as the following: (A) The repeated use by one or more students of a written, oral or electronic communication, such as cyberbullying, directed at or referring to another student attending school in the same school district, or (B) a physical act or gesture by one or more students repeatedly directed at another student attending school in the same school district, that (i) causes physical or emotional harm to himself or herself, or of damage to his or her property, (ii) places such student in reasonable fear of harm to himself or herself, or of damage to his or her property, (iii) creates a hostile environment at school for such student, (iv) infringes on the rights of such student at school, or (v) substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school

Beyond this, bullying includes, but is not limited to "a written, oral or electronic communication or physical act or gesture-based on any actual or perceived differentiating characteristic, such as race, color, religion ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, socioeconomic status, academic status, physical appearance, or mental, physical, developmental or sensory disability, or by association with an individual or group who has or is perceived to have one or more of such characteristics." (Connecticut Department of Education)

Effective December 1, 2012, North Carolina has made it a crime for students to bully their teachers. Students can face jail time and/or a $1,000 fine for cyberbullying school employees. Prohibited conduct includes posting a photo of a teacher on the internet, making a fake website, and signing a teacher up for junk mail.[24]

South America


On September 7, 2011, Chile's Congress approved "The Law about School Violence" that amended the General Law on Education to establish clear definitions, procedures, and penalties for school violence and bullying.[25]

The Law defines bullying as any repeated aggression or harassment that occurs in or outside the educational institution, by one student or a group towards another, causing mistreatment, humiliation, or fear. Bullying may be perpetrated in person or through any means, including cyber-bullying. Educational institutions are required to create a Committee of Good School Coexistence (Comité de Buena Convivencia Escolar) that will be in charge of managing and taking all the measures needed to secure a non-violent school life.[26]



In Austria, laws impose a legal duty of care on teachers to ensure the safety and well-being of their students. Thus, teachers have both a professional and moral obligation to intervene in bullying episodes.[27]

United Kingdom

Section 89 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 includes a requirement for headteachers at state schools to determine behavior policy with a view to "".



In 2011, Victoria passed a law called Brodie's Law that makes serious bullying an offence.

See also


  1. ^ Rees, Daniel I; Sabia, Joseph J; Kumpas, Gokhan (2020). "Anti-Bullying Laws and Suicidal Behaviors among Teenagers". doi:10.3386/w26777. S2CID 214330817. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ Flores, Helen (2013-09-18). "Noy signs anti-bullying law | Headlines, News, The Philippine Star". Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  3. ^ Flores, Helen M. (2013-09-19). "Anti-Bullying Law enacted | Education and Home, Other STAR Sections, The Philippine Star". Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  4. ^ In 2012, Ontario and Alberta also implement anti-bullying laws. The Workplace Bullying: A Global Health and Safety Issue Ellen Pinkos Cobb, Esq. Senior Regulatory & Legal Analyst The Isosceles Group Boston, MA United States of America, July 2012
  5. ^ Cuthbertson, Richard (2012-10-16). "Education Act will have strongest anti-bullying legislation in-country, minister says". Archived from the original on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  6. ^ "State Policy Database: Bullying Policy—Scope". NASBE. Retrieved 2021-06-21.
  7. ^ "Bully Police".
  8. ^ "Bully Police Georgia". Archived from the original on 2019-10-15. Retrieved 2011-04-22.
  9. ^ "Federal Policy".
  10. ^ Russlynn Ali Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (October 26, 2010). "Letter to a Colleague" (PDF). United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. Retrieved November 9, 2011. The statutes that [The Office for Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education] enforces include Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504); and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Title II). Section 504 and Title II prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. School districts may violate these civil rights statutes and the Department's implementing regulations when peer harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex, or disability is sufficiently serious that it creates a hostile environment and such harassment is encouraged, tolerated, not adequately addressed, or ignored by school employees.
  11. ^ "Our Founder Story".
  12. ^ "Bullying's Day in Court", USA Today, July 15, 2008
  13. ^ Meyer, Doug (2016). "The Gentle Neoliberalism of Modern Anti-bullying Texts: Surveillance, Intervention, and Bystanders in Contemporary Bullying Discourse". Sexuality Research & Social Policy. 13 (4): 356–370. doi:10.1007/s13178-016-0238-9. S2CID 148471672.
  14. ^ Thursday's Child
  15. ^ "A Q&A With Child Advocate Judge Gail Garinger About Bullying". 16 May 2012.
  16. ^ Meyer, Doug (2016). ""One Day I'm Going to be Really Successful": The Social Class Politics of Videos Made for the "It Gets Better" Anti-Gay Bullying Project". Critical Sociology. 43: 113–127. doi:10.1177/0896920515571761. S2CID 145751398.
  17. ^ "New Jersey anti-bullying act". 23 November 2010.
  18. ^ "New Jersey anti-bullying act".
  19. ^ "Stop bullying now". Archived from the original on 2011-05-21.
  20. ^ "Cyber bullying".
  21. ^ "What is Cyberbullying". U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Retrieved April 18, 2013.
  22. ^ Carvin, Andy. "PBS Teachers". Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  23. ^ "Kids Take Heed That Funny Drawing of Your Teacher Could Get You Jail Time". December 2012.
  24. ^ Ley 20.536 Sobre Violencia Escolar
  25. ^ Chile: Congress Approves Draft Legislation to Combat Bullying in Schools Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  26. ^ Burger, Christoph; Strohmeier, Dagmar; Spröber, Nina; Bauman, Sheri; Rigby, Ken (2015). "How teachers respond to school bullying: An examination of self-reported intervention strategy use, moderator effects, and concurrent use of multiple strategies". Teaching and Teacher Education. 51: 191–202. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2015.07.004.