88R9285 AMF-F
  By: Reynolds H.B. No. 4625
  relating to bullying, cyberbullying, and identity-based bullying
  in public schools.
         SECTION 1.  Section 28.0022, Education Code, is amended by
  adding Subsections (h) and (i) to read as follows:
         (h)  Nothing in this section may be construed as limiting a
  teacher, administrator, or other employee of a state agency, school
  district, or open-enrollment charter school from:
               (1)  implementing a strategy to prevent or mediate
  either specific instances or cultures of bullying or harassment
  that occur due to the victim's actual or perceived race, ethnicity,
  color, national origin, sex, gender, religion, disability status,
  or association with a person or group with one or more of those
  actual or perceived characteristics, including a strategy
  implemented pursuant to a policy adopted under Section 37.0832; or
               (2)  training teachers, administrators, or other
  employees in the implementation of a strategy described by
  Subdivision (1), including by providing staff development under
  Section 21.451.
         (i)  In this section: 
               (1)  "Bullying" has the meaning assigned by Section
               (2)  "Harassment" has the meaning assigned by Section
         SECTION 2.  Section 37.0832(a), Education Code, is amended
  by amending Subdivision (1) and adding Subdivisions (3) and (4) to
  read as follows:
               (1)  "Bullying":
                     (A)  means a single significant act or a pattern
  of acts by one or more students directed at another student that
  exploits an imbalance of power and involves engaging in written or
  verbal expression, expression through electronic means, or
  physical conduct that satisfies the applicability requirements
  provided by Subsection (a-1), and that:
                           (i)  has the effect or will have the effect
  of physically harming a student, damaging a student's property, or
  placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to the student's person
  or of damage to the student's property;
                           (ii)  is sufficiently severe, persistent, or
  pervasive enough that the action or threat creates an intimidating,
  threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student;
                           (iii)  materially and substantially
  disrupts the educational process or the orderly operation of a
  classroom or school; or
                           (iv)  infringes on the rights of the victim
  at school; and
                     (B)  includes:
                           (i)  cyberbullying; and 
                           (ii)  identity-based bullying.
               (3)  "Harassment" has the meaning assigned by Section
               (4)  "Identity-based bullying" means bullying or
  harassment that occurs due to the victim's:
                     (A)  actual or perceived race, ethnicity, color,
  national origin, sex, gender, religion, or disability status; or
                     (B)  association with a person or group with one
  or more of the actual or perceived characteristics listed in
  Paragraph (A).
         SECTION 3.  Section 37.0832, Education Code, is amended by
  adding Subsections (b), (b-1), (b-2), and (f) and amending
  Subsections (c), (c-1), (d), and (e).
         (b)  [(c)] The board of trustees of each school district
  shall adopt a policy, including any necessary procedures,
  concerning bullying that:
               (1)  prohibits the bullying of a student;
               (2)  prevents and mediates bullying incidents between
  students that:
                     (A)  interfere with a student's educational
  opportunities; or
                     (B)  substantially disrupt the orderly operation
  of a classroom, school, or school-sponsored or school-related
               (3)  prohibits retaliation against any person,
  including a victim, a witness, or another person, who in good faith
  provides information concerning an incident of bullying;
               (4)  requires a school district employee who, in the
  course and scope of employment, witnesses or receives information
  regarding an incident that the employee reasonably believes
  constitutes bullying by or against a student who at the time of the
  incident is enrolled in the district at which the employee is
  employed to report the information to a campus behavior coordinator
  or other appropriate district official;
               (5)  [(4)] establishes a procedure for providing notice
  of an incident of bullying to:
                     (A)  a parent or guardian of the alleged victim on
  or before the third business day after the date the incident is
  reported; and
                     (B)  a parent or guardian of the student alleged
  to have engaged in bullying [bully] within a reasonable amount of
  time after the incident;
               (6)  [(5)] establishes the actions a student should
  take to obtain assistance and intervention in response to bullying;
               (7)  [(6)] sets out the supportive measures provided by
  the district under Subsection (b-1) and available to [available
  counseling options for] a student who is impacted by bullying,
  including the alleged [a] victim of bullying, a person who
  allegedly engaged in bullying, or a witness to bullying [or who
  engages in bullying];
               (8)  [(7)] establishes procedures for reporting an
  incident of bullying, including procedures for a student to
  anonymously report an incident of bullying;
               (9)  establishes procedures for[,] investigating a
  reported incident of bullying, and determining whether the reported
  incident of bullying occurred, which must include requiring:
                     (A)  written notice of the investigation or a
  reported incident of bullying to all students impacted by the
  incident and the parents or legal guardians of those students;
                     (B)  the provision of supportive measures under
  Subsection (b-1) to students impacted by the incident throughout
  the investigation;
                     (C)  the issuance of an investigative report that
  includes the identity of witnesses to the incident, a summary of
  evidence considered, the investigator's determination as to
  whether the reported incident occurred and, if so, the student or
  students responsible for the incident, and the rationale for those
                     (D)  an opportunity for each impacted student and
  that student's parent or legal guardian to review and comment on the
  investigative report required under Paragraph (C) prior to the
  report being finalized; and
                     (E)  an opportunity for each impacted student to
  appeal a determination of the investigator;
               (10)  requires investigations conducted pursuant to
  the procedures established under Subdivision (9) to be completed
  not later than the 10th business day after the district receives a
  report of bullying submitted pursuant to the procedures established
  under Subdivision (8), unless the time period is extended for good
  cause and a written notice of the extension and rationale is
  provided to impacted students and those students' parents or legal
               (11)  [(8)] prohibits the imposition of a disciplinary
  measure on a student who, after an investigation, is found to be a
  victim of bullying, on the basis of that student's use of reasonable
  self-defense in response to the bullying;
               (12)  [(9)] requires that discipline for bullying of a
  student with disabilities comply with applicable requirements
  under federal law, including the Individuals with Disabilities
  Education Act (20 U.S.C. Section 1400 et seq.); and
               (13)  (10) complies with the minimum standards adopted
  by the agency under Subsection (c) [(c-1)].
         (b-1)  The board of trustees of each school district shall
  provide to a student impacted by bullying supportive measures that
  are not disciplinary or punitive and are individualized to the
  student.  Measures provided under this subsection shall be designed
               (1)  protect the safety of all students, teachers, and
  other school staff in the district; and
               (2)  ensure a student impacted by bullying has
  continued access to the school's educational program, including the
  student's normal instructional lessons and activities, and may
                     (A)  counseling; 
                     (B)  the extension of a deadline for turning in
  coursework or other instruction-related adjustments;
                     (C)  modifications to a class schedule;
                     (D)  requiring an employee of the district to
  escort a student while the student is on a district campus;
                     (E)  a transfer under Section 25.0342;
                     (F)  restrictions on contact between students
  impacted by an incident of bullying; and
                     (G)  other similar measures.
         (b-2)  A school district must provide supportive measures
  under Subsection (b-1):
               (1)  without fee or charge; and 
               (2)  regardless of whether the student elects to
  cooperate with an investigation conducted pursuant to the
  procedures established under Subsection (b)(9).
         (c)  [(c-1)] The agency shall adopt minimum standards for a
  school district's policy under Subsection (b) [(c)].  The standards
               (1)  include an emphasis on bullying prevention by
  focusing on school climate, [and] building healthy relationships
  between students and staff, and engaging in dialogue to create a
  culture of understanding and respect;
               (2)  require each district campus to establish a
  committee to address bullying by focusing on prevention efforts and
  health and wellness initiatives;
               (3)  require students at each grade level to meet
  periodically for instruction on building relationships and
  preventing bullying, including cyberbullying and identity-based
               (4)  include an emphasis on increasing student
  reporting of bullying incidents to school employees by:
                     (A)  increasing awareness about district
  reporting procedures; and
                     (B)  providing for anonymous reporting of
  bullying incidents;
               (5)  require districts to:
                     (A)  collect information annually through student
  surveys on bullying, including cyberbullying and identity-based
  bullying; and
                     (B)  use those survey results to develop action
  plans to address student concerns regarding bullying, including
  cyberbullying and identity-based bullying; and
               (6)  require districts to develop a rubric or checklist
  to assess an incident of bullying and to determine the district's
  response to the incident.
         (d)  The policy and any necessary procedures adopted under
  Subsection (b) [(c)] must be included:
               (1)  annually, in the student and employee school
  district handbooks; and
               (2)  in the district improvement plan under Section
         (e)  The procedure for reporting bullying established under
  Subsection (b) [(c)] must be posted on the district's Internet
  website to the extent practicable.
         (f)  The board of trustees of each school district shall
  annually publish a written summary of all incidents of bullying
  reported at each campus within the district.  The summary must be
  posted on the district's Internet website and sent to all parents
  and legal guardians of students enrolled in the district at the
  beginning of each school year and:
               (1)  may not identify any person; and
               (2)  must include:
                     (A)  the number of reported incidents of bullying
  at each district campus, including the number of reported incidents
  of cyberbullying and identity-based bullying;
                     (B)  the number of investigations conducted as a
  result of reported incidents of bullying;
                     (C)  the disposition, if applicable, of any
  disciplinary processes arising from the reported incidents of
  bullying, including a summary of the nature of an incident that
  resulted in a disciplinary process, the rationale behind the
  determination of responsibility, if applicable, and any
  disciplinary measure imposed; and
                     (D)  the number of reports for which the district
  determined not to initiate an investigation or impose disciplinary
  measures and the reasons for each determination.
         SECTION 4.  Section 48.009(b-4), Education Code, as added by
  Chapter 972 (S.B. 2050), Acts of the 87th Legislature, Regular
  Session, 2021, is amended to read as follows:
         (b-4)  The commissioner by rule shall require each school
  district and open-enrollment charter school to annually report
  through the Public Education Information Management System the
  number of reported incidents of bullying that have occurred at each
  campus. The commissioner's rules shall require a district or
  school to specify the number of incidents of bullying that included
  cyberbullying and identity-based bullying.
         SECTION 5.  Not later than 45 days after the effective date
  of this Act, the Texas Education Agency shall adopt or revise
  minimum standards as necessary to comply with Section 37.0832(c),
  Education Code, as amended by this Act.
         SECTION 6.  This Act applies beginning with the 2023-2024
  school year.
         SECTION 7.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2023.