New Hampshire's new bullying law, RSA 193-F, defines bullying as:
I.(a) “Bullying” means a single significant incident or a pattern of incidents involving a written, verbal, or electronic communication, or a physical act or gesture, or any combination thereof, directed at another pupil which:
- Physically harms a pupil or damages the pupil’s property;
- Causes emotional distress to a pupil;
- Interferes with a pupil’s educational opportunities;
- Creates a hostile educational environment; or
- Substantially disrupts the orderly operation of the school.
(b) “Bullying” shall include actions motivated by an imbalance of power based on a pupil’s actual or perceived personal characteristics, behaviors, or beliefs, or motivated by the pupil’s association with another person and based on the other person’s characteristics, behaviors, or beliefs.
The difficult part is determining how to identify bullying and how to respond to incidents. Though schools are already defining and implementing their individual approach to inacting the new law, the state is also offering an opportunity to develop a collaborative approach.
To encourage this collaboration, on Monday, April 4th, the NH State Advisory Group on Juvenile Justice, NH Department of Health and Human Services, and NH Department of Education will offer sessions for those working with children in areas of juvenile justice and education, including public, non-public, residential settings and community based programs. The goal is to determine a collaborative response for others to understand how to respond to incidents of bullying.