Cyber Bullying: Reviewing Washington State Law RCW 28A.300.285
American Military University
Learning institutions require an environment that is conducive to learning and nurtures the absorption of knowledge. Moreover, children require a safe and secure space in order to learn and interact with their peers in a healthy, fit and supportive way. The foregoing cannot be achieved when activities involving bullying and harassment are tolerated and allowed to foster in an institution. The enactment of laws to control and manage the issue of harassment and school bullying is therefore an essential tool to stop these actions from occurring at schools. Law is a critical ...view middle of the document...
Parents and children alike continue to seek help from authorities because of what they have faced in schools due to harassment. The legislative instrument under the Washington State Law RCW 28A.300.285 seeks to expand and widen the scope of strategies that can be used to battle harassment, intimidation, and bullying of pupils, and to amplify awareness of the need for respectful learning communities in all public schools. In order to understand why the law was enacted and why it is important, it is critical to note the past trend in schools. Thus in 2006, the Washington Healthy Youth Survey reported that:
31.6 percent of 6th graders reported being bullied in the last 30 days.
27.2 percent of 8th graders reported being bullied in the last 30 days.
23.3 percent of 10th graders reported being bullied in the last 30 days.
15.6 percent of 12th graders reported being bullied in the last 30 days.
Children who are involved in bullying at a young age are likely to be involved in criminal activities when they grow old. Moreover, nearly two-thirds of the children involved in crimes are reported to have “felt persecuted, bullied, threatened, attacked, or injured by others…” (Bowman, 2001). Likewise, almost nine percent of pupils who drop out of learning institutions do so because of repeated acts of harassment, bullying and other forms of intimidation (Weinhold, 1998). It is also critical to highlight that nearly twenty eight percent of those who are involved in bullying at the early age are likely to be convicted criminals when they reach 24 years of age (Maine Project against Bullying, 2000). The law therefore came to fruition in order to secure the growth and development of children.
Even though the Anti-Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying Act of 2002 mandates all schools to formulate anti-harassment policies, little was done. Not all school districts in the state had written policy on harassment and bullying and those that did, did not include a prevention plan, definitions, reporting procedures, discipline action steps, staff training or plan to partner with families. There is also lack of uniformity in response. Moreover learning institutions did not include parents and other stakeholders in the formation of policies. Parents did not also feel protected from the harassment of schools when they report vices being impugned on their children; as such no report was made at all. In light of the foregoing there was need to ensure a stricter set of laws is enacted.
As much as the law seeks to protect student against bullying, it opens a sort of Pandora’s box for manipulation. This is seen in the provision that states, “Nothing in this section requires the affected student to actually possess a characteristic that is a basis for the harassment, intimidation, or bullying” (Washington State Legislature, nd). Implementing this may be difficult especially if the position is only a word of...