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2018 SB 453: An Act Concerning Classroom Safety And Disruptive Behavior.

Sponsors

  • Ohler, Brian M.,
  • Ackert, Tim,
  • Dunsby, Adam,
  • Lopes, Rick,
  • Staneski, Pam,
  • Green, Robin,
  • Fleischmann, Andrew M.,
  • Bolinsky, Mitch,
  • Delnicki, Tom,
  • France, Mike,
  • Sampson, Robert C.,
  • Byron, Gary,
  • Zawistowski, Tami,
  • Albis, James M.,
  • Guglielmo, Anthony,
  • Altobello, Emil,
  • Betts, Whit,
  • Carney, Devin R.,
  • Cheeseman, Holly H.,
  • Godfrey, Bob,
  • Gresko, Joseph P.,
  • Guerrera, Antonio,
  • Kupchick, Brenda L.,
  • Young, Philip L.,
  • Hartley, Joan V.,
  • Rutigliano, David,
  • Wilson, David T.,
  • Stokes, Greg,
  • Davis, Christopher,
  • Ferguson, Michael,
  • Genga, Henry J.,
  • Hennessy, John "Jack" F.,
  • Klarides-Ditria, Nicole,
  • Kokoruda, Noreen S.,
  • Witkos, Kevin D.,
  • Serra, Joseph C.,
  • Miner, Craig,
  • Tercyak, Peter A.,
  • Cassano, Steve,
  • Belsito, Sam,
  • Elliott, Josh,
  • Kissel, John A.,
  • Gibson, Bobby G.,
  • McGorty, Ben,
  • Winkler, Michael,
  • Petit, William A.,
  • Suzio, Len,
  • Klarides, Themis,
  • Simanski, Bill,
  • Mushinsky, Mary M.,
  • Fasano, Leonard A.,
  • Aresimowicz, Joe,
  • Logan, George S.,
  • Somers, Heather B.,
  • Carpino, Christie M.,
  • Devlin, Laura M.,
  • Candelora, Vincent J.,
  • Hall, Carol,
  • Riley, Emmett D.,
  • Hampton, John K.,
  • Lavielle, Gail,

Actions

2018-03-07 upper REF. TO JOINT COMM. ON Education
2018-03-09 upper PUBLIC HEARING 0314
2018-03-23 upper Joint Favorable Substitute
2018-03-26 upper FILED WITH LCO
2018-04-06 upper REFERRED TO Office of Legislative Research AND Office of Fiscal Analysis 04/11/18
2018-04-12 upper RPTD. OUT OF LCO
2018-04-12 upper FAV. RPT., TAB. FOR CAL., SEN.
2018-04-12 upper SENATE CALENDAR NUMBER 281
2018-04-12 upper FILE NO. 480
2018-05-04 upper SEN. ADOPTED SEN. AMEND. SCH. A
2018-05-04 upper SEN. PASSED, SEN. AMEND. SCH. A
2018-05-04 upper ON CONSENT CALENDAR
2018-05-06 upper FAV. RPT., TABLED FOR HOUSE CALENDER
2018-05-06 upper HOUSE CALENDAR NUMBER 549
2018-05-08 upper HOUSE ADOPTED SEN. AMEND. SCH. A
2018-05-08 upper HOUSE PASSED, SEN. AMEND. SCH. A
2018-05-08 upper IN CONCURRENCE
2018-05-22 upper PUBLIC ACT 18-89
2018-05-23 upper TRANSMITTED TO SECRETARY OF THE STATE
2018-05-23 upper TRANSMITTED BY SECRETARY OF THE STATE TO GOVERNOR
2018-06-07 upper VETOED BY GOVERNOR

Bill Text

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 10-222d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2018):

(a) As used in this section , and sections 10-222g to 10-222i, inclusive, and section 10-222k, inclusive, as amended by this act:

(1) "Bullying" means (A) the repeated use by one or more students of a written, oral or electronic communication, such as cyberbullying, directed at or referring to another student attending school in the same school district, or (B) a physical act or gesture by one or more students repeatedly directed at another student attending school in the same school district, that: (i) Causes physical or emotional harm to such student or damage to such student's property, (ii) places such student in reasonable fear of harm to himself or herself, or of damage to his or her property, (iii) creates a hostile environment at school for such student, (iv) infringes on the rights of such student at school, or (v) substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school. "Bullying" shall include, but not be limited to, a written, oral or electronic communication or physical act or gesture based on any actual or perceived differentiating characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, socioeconomic status, academic status, physical appearance, or mental, physical, developmental or sensory disability, or by association with an individual or group who has or is perceived to have one or more of such characteristics;

(2) "Cyberbullying" means any act of bullying through the use of the Internet, interactive and digital technologies, cellular mobile telephone or other mobile electronic devices or any electronic communications;

(3) "Teen dating violence" means any act of physical, emotional or sexual abuse, including stalking, harassing and threatening, that occurs between two students who are currently in or who have recently been in a dating relationship;

(4) "Mobile electronic device" means any hand-held or other portable electronic equipment capable of providing data communication between two or more individuals, including, but not limited to, a text messaging device, a paging device, a personal digital assistant, a laptop computer, equipment that is capable of playing a video game or a digital video disk, or equipment on which digital images are taken or transmitted;

(5) "Electronic communication" means any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectronic or photo-optical system;

(6) "Hostile environment" means a situation in which bullying among students is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the school climate;

(7) "Outside of the school setting" means at a location, activity or program that is not school related, or through the use of an electronic device or a mobile electronic device that is not owned, leased or used by a local or regional board of education;

(8) "School employee" means (A) a teacher, substitute teacher, school administrator, school superintendent, guidance counselor, psychologist, social worker, nurse, physician, school paraprofessional or coach employed by a local or regional board of education or working in a public elementary, middle or high school; or (B) any other individual who, in the performance of his or her duties, has regular contact with students and who provides services to or on behalf of students enrolled in a public elementary, middle or high school, pursuant to a contract with the local or regional board of education; and

(9) "School climate" means the quality and character of school life with a particular focus on the quality of the relationships within the school community between and among students and adults; . and

(b) Each local and regional board of education shall develop and implement a safe school climate plan to address the existence of bullying, daily classroom safety and teen dating violence in its schools. Such plan shall: (1) Enable students to anonymously report acts of bullying to school employees and require students and the parents or guardians of students to be notified at the beginning of each school year of the process by which students may make such reports, (2) enable the parents or guardians of students to file written reports of suspected bullying, (3) require school employees who witness acts of bullying or receive reports of bullying to orally notify the safe school climate specialist, described in section 10-222k, as amended by this act, or another school administrator if the safe school climate specialist is unavailable, not later than one school day after such school employee witnesses or receives a report of bullying, and to file a written report not later than two school days after making such oral report, (4) require the safe school climate specialist to investigate or supervise the investigation of all reports of bullying and ensure that such investigation is completed promptly after receipt of any written reports made under this section and that the parents or guardians of the student alleged to have committed an act or acts of bullying and the parents or guardians of the student against whom such alleged act or acts were directed receive prompt notice that such investigation has commenced, (5) require the safe school climate specialist to review any anonymous reports, except that no disciplinary action shall be taken solely on the basis of an anonymous report, (6) include a prevention and intervention strategy, as defined by section 10-222g, as amended by this act, for school employees to deal with bullying and teen dating violence, (7) provide for the inclusion of language in student codes of conduct concerning bullying and daily classroom safety, (8) require each school to notify the parents or guardians of students who commit any verified acts of bullying or violations of daily classroom safety and the parents or guardians of students against whom such acts were directed not later than forty-eight hours after the completion of the investigation described in subdivision (4) of this subsection, (9) require each school to invite the parents or guardians of a student against whom such act was directed to a meeting to communicate to such parents or guardians the measures being taken by the school to ensure the safety of the student against whom such act was directed and policies and procedures in place to prevent further acts of bullying, (10) require each school to invite the parents or guardians of a student who commits any verified act of bullying or violation of daily classroom safety to a meeting, separate and distinct from the meeting required in subdivision (9) of this subsection, to discuss specific interventions undertaken by the school to prevent further acts of bullying or violations of daily classroom safety, (11) establish a procedure for each school to document and maintain records relating to reports and investigations of bullying or violations of daily classroom safety in such school and to maintain a list of the number of verified acts of bullying or violations of daily classroom safety in such school and make such list available for public inspection, and annually report such number to the Department of Education, and in such manner as prescribed by the Commissioner of Education, (12) direct the development of case-by-case interventions for addressing repeated violations of daily classroom safety or incidents of bullying against a single individual or recurrently perpetrated bullying incidents by the same individual that may include both counseling, mental health services and discipline, (13) prohibit discrimination and retaliation against an individual who reports or assists in the investigation of an act of bullying, (14) direct the development of student safety support plans for students against whom an act of bullying was directed that address safety measures the school will take to protect such students against further acts of bullying, (15) require the principal of a school, or the principal's designee, to notify the appropriate local law enforcement agency when such principal, or the principal's designee, believes that any acts of bullying or violations of daily classroom safety constitute criminal conduct, (16) prohibit bullying (A) on school grounds, at a school-sponsored or school-related activity, function or program whether on or off school grounds, at a school bus stop, on a school bus or other vehicle owned, leased or used by a local or regional board of education, or through the use of an electronic device or an electronic mobile device owned, leased or used by the local or regional board of education, and (B) outside of the school setting if such bullying (i) creates a hostile environment at school for the student against whom such bullying was directed, or (ii) infringes on the rights of the student against whom such bullying was directed at school, or (iii) substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school, (17) require, at the beginning of each school year, each school to provide all school employees with a written or electronic copy of the school district's safe school climate plan, and (18) require that all school employees annually complete the training described in section 10-220a or section 10-222j, as amended by this act. The notification required pursuant to subdivision (8) of this subsection and the invitation required pursuant to subdivision (9) of this subsection shall include a description of the response of school employees to such acts and any consequences that may result from the commission of further acts of bullying.

(c) Not later than September 1, 2014, each local and regional board of education that has not had a safe school climate plan, developed pursuant to this section, previously reviewed and approved by the Department of Education shall submit a safe school climate plan to the department for review and approval in accordance with the provisions of section 10-222p. Not later than thirty calendar days after approval by the department of such safe school climate plan, the board shall make such plan available on the board's and each individual school in the school district's Internet web site and ensure that such plan is included in the school district's publication of the rules, procedures and standards of conduct for schools and in all student handbooks.

(d) On and after July 1, 2012, and biennially thereafter, each local and regional board of education shall require each school in the district to complete an assessment using the school climate assessment instruments, including surveys, approved and disseminated by the Department of Education pursuant to section 10-222h, as amended by this act. Each local and regional board of education shall collect the school climate assessments for each school in the district and submit such school climate assessments to the department.

Sec. 2. Section 10-220f of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2018):

Each local and regional board of education may shall establish a school district safety committee to increase parent, staff and student awareness of safety and health issues and to review the adequacy of daily classroom safety, as defined in section 10-222d, as amended by this act, and emergency response procedures at each school. Parents, teachers and high school students shall be included in the membership of such committees.

Sec. 3. Section 10-222h of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2018):

(a) The Department of Education shall, within available appropriations, (1) document school districts' articulated needs for technical assistance and training related to safe learning, daily classroom safety and bullying, (2) collect information on the prevention and intervention strategies used by schools to reduce the incidence of bullying, improve school climate and improve reporting outcomes, (3) develop or recommend model safe school climate plans for grades kindergarten to twelve, inclusive, and (4) in collaboration with the Connecticut Association of Schools, disseminate to all public schools grade-level appropriate school climate assessment instruments, approved by the department, to be used by local and regional boards of education for the purposes of collecting information described in subdivision (2) of this subsection so that the department can monitor efforts to prevent bullying prevention efforts and ensure daily classroom safety over time and compare each district's progress to state trends. Such school climate assessment instruments shall (A) include surveys that contain uniform grade-level appropriate questions that collect information about students' perspectives and opinions about the school climate at the school, and (B) allow students to complete and submit such assessment and survey anonymously.

(b) (1) On or before February 1, 2014, and annually thereafter, the department shall, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a, submit a report on the status of its efforts pursuant to this section including, but not limited to, the number of verified acts of bullying in the state, an analysis of the responsive action taken by school districts, an analysis of student responses on the uniform grade-level appropriate questions described in subparagraph (A) of subdivision (4) of subsection (a) of this section and any recommendations it may have regarding additional activities or funding to prevent bullying in schools and improve school climate to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to education and children and to the speaker of the House of Representatives, the president pro tempore of the Senate and the majority and minority leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

(c) The department may accept private donations for the purposes of this section.

Sec. 4. Section 10-222i of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2018):

(a) The Department of Education, in consultation with the State Education Resource Center, established pursuant to section 10-357a, the Governor's Prevention Partnership, the Commission on Women, Children and Seniors and the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, shall establish, within available appropriations, a state-wide safe school climate resource network for the identification, prevention and education of daily classroom safety, school bullying and teen dating violence in the state. Such state-wide safe school climate resource network shall make available to all schools information, training opportunities and resource materials to improve the school climate to ensure daily classroom safety and diminish bullying and teen dating violence.

(b) The department may seek federal, state and municipal funding and may accept private donations for the administration of the state-wide safe school climate resource network.

Sec. 5. Section 10-222j of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2018):

The Department of Education shall provide, within available appropriations, annual training to school employees, as defined in section 10-222d, except those school employees who hold professional certification pursuant to section 10-145b unless such school employee who holds professional certification is the district safe school climate coordinator, the safe school climate specialist or a member of the safe school climate committee, as described in section 10-222k, as amended by this act, on the prevention, identification and response to violations of daily classroom safety, school bullying and teen dating violence, as defined in section 10-222d, and the prevention of and response to youth suicide. Such training may include, but not be limited to, (1) developmentally appropriate strategies to ensure daily classroom safety, prevent bullying and teen dating violence among students in school and outside of the school setting, (2) developmentally appropriate strategies for immediate and effective interventions to ensure daily classroom safety and stop bullying and teen dating violence, (3) information regarding the interaction and relationship between students violating daily classroom safety or committing acts of bullying and teen dating violence, students against whom such acts of bullying and teen dating violence are directed and witnesses of such acts of bullying and teen dating violence, (4) research findings on daily classroom safety, bullying and teen dating violence, such as information about the types of students who have been shown to be at-risk for violating daily classroom safety, bullying and teen dating violence in the school setting, (5) information on the incidence and nature of cyberbullying, as defined in section 10-222d, (6) Internet safety issues as they relate to cyberbullying, or (7) information on the incidence of youth suicide, methods of identifying youths at risk of suicide and developmentally appropriate strategies for effective interventions to prevent youth suicide. Such training may be presented in person by mentors, offered in state-wide workshops or through on-line courses.

Sec. 6. Section 10-222k of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2018):

(a) For the school year commencing July 1, 2012 2018, and each school year thereafter, the superintendent of each local or regional board of education shall appoint, from among existing school district staff, a district safe school climate coordinator. The district safe school climate coordinator shall: (1) Be responsible for implementing the district's safe school climate plan, developed pursuant to section 10-222d, as amended by this act, (2) collaborate with the safe school climate specialists, described in subsection (b) of this section, the board of education for the district and the superintendent of schools of the school district to prevent, identify and respond to bullying and violations of daily classroom safety in the schools of the district, (3) provide data and information, in collaboration with the superintendent of schools of the district, to the Department of Education regarding bullying and daily classroom safety, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (b) of section 10-222d, as amended by this act, and subsection (a) of section 10-222h, as amended by this act, and (4) meet with the safe school climate specialists at least twice during the school year to discuss issues relating to bullying and daily classroom safety in the school district and to make recommendations concerning amendments to the district's safe school climate plan.

(b) For the school year commencing July 1, 2012, and each school year thereafter, the principal of each school, or the principal's designee, shall serve as the safe school climate specialist and shall (1) investigate or supervise the investigation of reported acts of bullying in the school in accordance with the district's safe school climate plan, (2) collect and maintain records of reports and investigations of bullying in the school, and (3) act as the primary school official responsible for preventing, identifying and responding to reports of bullying in the school.

(c) (1) For the school year commencing July 1, 2012, and each school year thereafter, the principal of each school shall establish a committee or designate at least one existing committee in the school to be responsible for developing and fostering a safe school climate and addressing issues relating to bullying and daily classroom safety in the school. Such committee shall include at least one parent or guardian of a student enrolled in the school appointed by the school principal.

(2) Any such committee shall: (A) Receive copies of completed reports following investigations of bullying or violations of daily classroom safety, (B) identify and address patterns of bullying or acts that violate daily classroom safety among students in the school, (C) implement the provisions of the school security and safety plan, developed pursuant to section 10-222m, regarding the collection, evaluation and reporting of information relating to instances of disturbing or threatening behavior that may not meet the definition of bullying or daily classroom safety, (D) review and amend school policies relating to bullying and daily classroom safety, (E) review and make recommendations to the district safe school climate coordinator regarding the district's safe school climate plan based on issues and experiences specific to the school, (F) educate students, school employees and parents and guardians of students on issues relating to bullying and daily classroom safety, (G) collaborate with the district safe school climate coordinator in the collection of data regarding bullying and violations of daily classroom safety, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (b) of section 10-222d, as amended by this act, and subsection (a) of section 10-222h, as amended by this act, and (H) perform any other duties as determined by the school principal that are related to the prevention, identification and response to school bullying and violations of daily classroom safety for the school.

(3) Any parent or guardian serving as a member of any such committee shall not participate in the activities described in subparagraphs (A) to (C), inclusive, of subdivision (2) of this subsection or any other activity that may compromise the confidentiality of a student.

Sec. 7. Subsection (a) of section 10-222n of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2018):

(a) Not later than January 1, 2014, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, in consultation with the Department of Education, shall develop school security and safety plan standards. The school security and safety plan standards shall be an all-hazards approach to emergencies at public schools and shall include, but not be limited to, (1) involvement of local officials, including the chief executive officer of the municipality, the superintendent of schools, law enforcement, fire, public health, emergency management and emergency medical services, in the development of school security and safety plans, (2) a command center organization structure based on the federal National Incident Management System and a description of the responsibilities of such command center organization, (3) a requirement that a school security and safety committee be established at each school, in accordance with the provisions of section 10-222m, (4) crisis management procedures, (5) a requirement that local law enforcement and other local public safety officials evaluate, score and provide feedback on fire drills and crisis response drills, conducted pursuant to section 10-231, (6) a requirement that local and regional boards of education annually submit reports to the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection regarding such fire drills and crisis response drills, (7) procedures for managing various types of emergencies, (8) a requirement that each local and regional board of education conduct a security and vulnerability assessment for each school under the jurisdiction of such board every two years and develop a school security and safety plan for each such school, in accordance with the provisions of section 10-222m, based on the results of such assessment, (9) a requirement that the safe school climate committee for each school, established pursuant to section 10-222k, as amended by this act, collect and evaluate information relating to instances of disturbing or threatening behavior that may not meet the definition of bullying or daily classroom safety, as those terms are defined in section 10-222d, as amended by this act, and report such information, as necessary, to the district safe school climate coordinator, described in section 10-222k, as amended by this act, and the school security and safety committee for the school, established pursuant to section 10-222m, and (10) a requirement that the school security and safety plan for each school provide an orientation on such school security and safety plan to each school employee, as defined in section 10-222d, as amended by this act, at such school and provide violence prevention training in a manner prescribed in such school security and safety plan. The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection shall make such standards available to local officials, including local and regional boards of education.

Sec. 8. Section 10-222g of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2018):

For the purposes of section 10-222d, as amended by this act, the term "prevention and intervention strategy" may include, but is not limited to, (1) implementation of a positive behavioral interventions and supports process or another evidence-based model approach for safe school climate or for ensuring daily classroom safety and the prevention of bullying and teen dating violence identified by the Department of Education, (2) school rules prohibiting acts that violate daily classroom safety, bullying, teen dating violence, harassment and intimidation and establishing appropriate consequences for those who engage in such acts, (3) adequate adult supervision of outdoor areas, hallways, the lunchroom and other specific areas where bullying or teen dating violence is likely to occur, (4) inclusion of grade-appropriate bullying and teen dating violence education and prevention curricula in kindergarten through high school, (5) individual interventions with the child who violates daily classroom safety, the bully, parents and school employees, and interventions with the bullied child, parents and school employees, (6) school-wide training related to safe school climate, (7) student peer training, education and support, (8) promotion of parent involvement in prevention of acts that violate daily classroom safety and bullying prevention through individual or team participation in meetings, trainings and individual interventions, and (9) culturally competent school-based curriculum focusing on social-emotional learning, self-awareness and self-regulation, and (10) mental health services for children whose acts violate daily classroom safety. Funding for the school-based bullying intervention and school climate improvement strategy may originate from public, private, federal or philanthropic sources. For purposes of this section, "interventions with the bullied child" includes referrals to a school counselor, psychologist or other appropriate social or mental health service, and periodic follow-up by the safe school climate specialist with the bullied child.

Sec. 9. Section 10-233g of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2018):

(a) Where there is a physical assault made by a student upon a teacher or other school employee on school property or in performance of school duties and such teacher or employee files a written report with the school principal based upon such assault, the school building principal shall report such physical assault to the local police authority.

(b) No school administrator shall interfere with the right of a teacher or other employee of a board of education to file a complaint with the local police authority in cases of threats of physical violence and in cases of physical assaults by a student against such teacher or employee.

Sec. 10. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2018) (a) A teacher may remove from class a student who (1) has been documented by the teacher to have assaulted the teacher or other students in the classroom, (2) has repeatedly committed verified acts of bullying, as defined in section 10-222d of the general statutes, as amended by this act, or (3) has engaged in violations of daily classroom safety, as defined in section 10-222d of the general statutes, as amended by this act, or otherwise engaged in conduct that is seriously disruptive of the educational process or is a threat to the safety of others in the classroom.

(b) If a teacher removes a student from class pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the administrator may place the student in another educational setting that is best suited to meet the student's needs, including, but not limited to, another classroom, alternative education, as defined in section 10-74j of the general statutes, an in-school suspension in accordance with the provisions of section 10-233f of the general statutes, or any other appropriate response. The administrator shall not allow a student who has been removed from class to return to the class of the teacher who had such student removed without such teacher's consent, unless the safe school climate committee of the school, established pursuant to section 10-222k of the general statutes, as amended by this act, determines that such return is warranted because such student has received appropriate intervention and support and there are adequate protections in the classroom for the safety of the teacher and other students.