A Watch-dog Organization - Advocating for Bullied Children
& Reporting on State Anti Bullying Laws
 
..

 ALABAMA

B+

The Alabama Student Harassment Prevention Act - HB 0216
PDF - www.BullyPolice.org/AL_law2009HB0216.pdf


This law was signed on May, 20, 2009 by Governor Bob Riley.

...I would like to point out: 

  1. This law pertains only to "one student against another student" only - which leaves out the possibility that a teacher might harass a student, or even a student might harass a teacher (which is rare because adult harassment laws and Unions will protect teachers).
  2. This law says that complaints MUST be in writing and submitted by the affected student, or the parent or guardian of the affected student - which means young children (or students who don't write well) have no way of reporting what happened to them.  In the majority of cases, parents have no clue what's going on so they won't put anything in writing and students are ashamed of the bullying incident and its hard to talk about it, let alone write it.  What ever happened to the idea that a teacher is a friend, and you can tell your friend about something bad that is happening to you and they will help you report it and deal with it.  Truthfully, if I could, I'd take a point away from this law over this ridiculous clause in the law.
  3. Using the term, "continuous pattern of intentional behavior" is out of date for what we know about school bullying today.  Bullying can happen just once and it's severe enough to do something about.
  4. "Peer Mediation" is also outdated and can actually be harmful to the school environment if it isn't done right.
  5. When you put, "prompt investigation of reports of SERIOUS violations and complaints" in a law, this leaves the term "serious" up to ones on imagination.  All reports should be taken seriously and if all reports are taken seriously, the bullying will be seriously stopped.
  6. Okay, here is the most crazy clause I've ever read in a law - go to page 7, and read (13).  What were lawmakers thinking when they wrote this?  Is there some hidden meaning in this law that blames victims for their own victimization?  Why make a "nonexhaustive list of the specific personal characteristics of a student" unless it is believed that somehow that student, by that "characteristic" somehow deserved to be bullied?  This should be removed because it plain dumb.
  7. Something positive - yes, I love the reporting clause, page 8 (4) and the freedom of speech and expression on page 8 Section 7.  (But, does that mean a young student can tell, not write, their complaint to the teacher, but the teacher has been told by this law that they can't do anything because it wasn't written - kind of confusing isn't it.)

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