Bullying in Connecticut Schools
Bullying is a serious issue in Connecticut schools. Between 2011-2013, one in six students reported being bullied online, and one in five reported being bullied at school.
Connecticut does not tolerate bullying in schools. Children accused of bullying may face school disciplinary proceedings and, in some cases, criminal charges. Here are a few frequently asked questions about what Connecticut considers bullying and the resulting consequences.
Q: What behaviors are considered bullying in Connecticut schools?
A: Bullying takes many forms. It can be written, verbal or electronic threats (like cyberbullying). It can be physical assault, like kicking, punching, shoving or tripping. It can be harassment or hazing. It can be a physical act or gesture repeatedly directed at another student. Bullying usually happens because of a student’s race, color, gender, sexual orientation, physical appearance, or mental disability, or because of other actual or perceived differentiating characteristics.
Q: How do schools handle bullying?
A: Connecticut law requires school districts to develop plans that address bullying. For example, students should be able to report acts of bullying anonymously and school staff who witness bullying or receive reports of bullying must notify a school climate specialist or school administrator. The specialist will investigate the report. Within 48 hours after the investigation concludes, the school will invite the parents of the verified bullier and the target to a meeting. The school will describe what steps it is taking to prevent further bullying and the consequences of bullying.
Q: What consequences will my child face for bullying another student?
A: It depends on the school district’s particular plan and the seriousness of the offense. Many schools have zero tolerance policies and suspend or expel verified bulliers. If the bullying is a criminal offense -- like bringing a weapon to school, sexual assault or other types of physical violence -- then he or she could be criminally prosecuted.
Q: Is there any way to avoid criminal prosecution?
A: Yes. Connecticut law allows certain students charged with violent offenses to attend a one-year violence prevention program instead of going to trial. This program is called the Pretrial School Violence Prevention Program. The Court Support Services Division will determine the child’s eligibility to participate. The charges against the student will be dismissed if he or she successfully completes the program. But the statute of limitations (the time that police have to prosecute the case) will be paused in case the student does not complete the program.
Reach out to an experienced juvenile defense attorney with any other questions you have about bullying-related charges.
Contact Us Today for Assistance
Contact the experienced Norwalk juvenile defense attorney at the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner today if your child is arrested or detained on school bullying charges. We will protect your child’s rights and provide effective juvenile defense services. We will also help avoid a lengthy suspension or expulsion from school.