Jamari Terrell Williams Student Bullying Prevention Act
The Baldwin County Public School System is committed to providing a safe and supportive learning environment in which all members of the school community are treated with respect. Consequently, harassment, violence, and threats of violence are prohibited and constitute unacceptable behavior that will not be tolerated.
In an effort to ensure that no student is subjected to harassment, violence, threats of violence, or intimidation by any other student, the Baldwin County Board of Education passed a new anti-harassment policy, which initially became effective for this 2010-11 school year. As stipulated in the policy, the Baldwin County Public School System is opposed to and prohibits, without qualification, unlawful harassment based on real or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identify, or disability.
The policy spells out the behavior the school system expects. It reads:
"Students are expected to treat other students with courtesy, respect, and dignity and to comply with the Student Code of Conduct. Students are expected and required (1) to comply with the requirements of law, policy, regulation, and rules prohibiting harassment, violence, or intimidation; (2) to refrain from inflicting or threatening to inflict violence, injury, or damage to the person or property of another student; and (3) to refrain from placing another student in fear of being subjected to violence, injury, or damage when such actions or threats are reasonably perceived as being motivated by any personal characteristic of the student..."
To constitute harassment, the policy says a pattern of behavior may include the following:
- Place a student in reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or damage to his or her property;
- Have the effect of substantially interfering with the educational performance, opportunities, or benefits of a student;
- Have the effect of substantially disrupting or interfering with the orderly operation of the school;
- Have the effect of creating a hostile environment in the school, on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored function; or
- Have the effect of being sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive enough to create an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student.
The policy further states that those students who harass, intimidate, or who conduct acts of violence or even threaten violence will be subject to disciplinary consequences and sanctions if the actions involve certain characteristics that include the student's race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Penalties for student harassment may include suspension or expulsion.
The policy spells out the investigation procedure a principal or his/her designee will use, and it also warns of acts of reprisal or retaliation against any student who has reported a violation.
If a student or a parent wants to report harassment, the official Baldwin County Public School System complaint forms are available at the principal and/or the counselors' office.
Beginning with the 2018-19 school year, this anti-harassment policy has been updated by the Alabama State Department of Education to also include student against student bullying, intimidation, violence, and threats of violence that occur off school property. In addition, the new Act specifically includes cyberbullying, which may also occur off school property. This new Act is entitled the Jamari Terrell Williams Student Bullying Prevention Act.
The Jamari Terrell Williams Student Bullying Prevention Act was signed into law by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey. It became effective on June 1, 2018.