115C-407.16. Policy against bullying or harassing behavior.

(a) Before December 31, 2009, each local school administrative unit shall adopt a policy prohibiting bullying or harassing behavior.

(b) The policy shall contain, at a minimum, the following components:

(1) A statement prohibiting bullying or harassing behavior.

(2) A definition of bullying or harassing behavior no less inclusive than that set forth in this Article.

(3) A description of the type of behavior expected for each student and school employee.

(4) Consequences and appropriate remedial action for a person who commits an act of bullying or harassment.

(5) A procedure for reporting an act of bullying or harassment, including a provision that permits a person to report such an act anonymously. This shall not be construed to permit formal disciplinary action solely on the basis of an anonymous report.

(6) A procedure for prompt investigation of reports of serious violations and complaints of any act of bullying or harassment, identifying either the principal or the principal's designee as the person responsible for the investigation.

(7) A statement that prohibits reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an act of bullying or harassment, and the consequence and appropriate remedial action for a person who engages in reprisal or retaliation.

(8) A statement of how the policy is to be disseminated and publicized, including notice that the policy applies to participation in school-sponsored functions.

(c) Nothing in this Article shall prohibit a local school administrative unit from adopting a policy that includes components beyond the minimum components provided in this section or that is more inclusive than the requirements of this Article.

(d) At the beginning of each school year, the principal shall provide the local school administrative unit's policy prohibiting bullying and harassing behavior, including cyber-bullying, to staff, students, and parents as defined in G.S. 115C-390.1(b)(8). Notice of the local policy shall appear in any school unit publication that sets forth the comprehensive rules, procedures, and standards of conduct for schools within the school unit and in any student and school employee handbook.

(e) Information regarding the local policy against bullying or harassing behavior shall be incorporated into a school's employee training program.

(f) To the extent funds are appropriated for these purposes, a local school administrative unit shall, by March 1, 2010, provide training on the local policy to school employees and volunteers who have significant contact with students. (2009-212, s. 1; 2009-570, s. 39; 2014-100, s. 8.32(a).)