Written by attorney Rixon Charles Rafter III

Cyber Bullying Law in Virginia, Part B

Virginia has enacted a cyber-bullying law in response to the explosive growth in social media and the ability of individuals to make themselves known in a wide range of media. The statute has three main sections (A, B, C) , one of which is printed below. That statute says at Va.Code § 22.1-279.6. Board of Education guidelines and model policies for codes of student conduct; school board regulations that:

“…B. School boards shall adopt and revise, as required by § 22.1-253.13:7 and in accordance with the requirements of this section, regulations on codes of student conduct that are consistent with, but may be more stringent than, the guidelines of the Board. School boards shall include, in the regulations on codes of student conduct, procedures for suspension, expulsion, and exclusion decisions and shall biennially review the model student conduct code to incorporate discipline options and alternatives to preserve a safe, nondisruptive environment for effective teaching and learning.

Each school board shall include, in its code of student conduct, prohibitions against bullying, hazing, and profane or obscene language or conduct. School boards shall also cite, in their codes of student conduct, the provisions of § 18.2-56, which defines and prohibits hazing and imposes a Class 1 misdemeanor penalty for violations, i.e., confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not more than $2,500, either or both.

A school board may regulate the use or possession of beepers or other portable communications devices and laser pointers by students on school property or attending school functions or activities and establish disciplinary procedures pursuant to this article to which students violating such regulations will be subject.

Nothing herein shall be construed to require any school board to adopt policies requiring or encouraging any drug testing in schools. However, a school board may, in its discretion, require or encourage drug testing in accordance with the Board of Education's guidelines and model student conduct policies required by subsection A and the Board's guidelines for student searches required by § 22.1-279.7.

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