Harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB) legislation revolves around preventing, reporting, investigating and responding to incidents that occur on school grounds and off school grounds under specified circumstances. Laws were adopted, in part, in response research on the incidence, prevalence and effects of HIB that has emerged since the adoption of the original HIB law in 2002. Some of the main states that specifically define HIB in their legislation include New Jersey and Washington.
While controversy exists whether such HIB laws and legislation actually reduce the number of incidents or improve things like school climate and safety, the laws are here to stay and its important to understand their implications. It is becoming an important reality that schools must follow such laws or face potential legal consequences. At the very least, HIB laws encourage schools to establish, implement, and assess bullying prevention programs and approaches designed to create school-wide conditions to prevent and address HIB.