Washington State legislation speaks to harassment, intimidation and bullying. That definition, as well as definitions for each of the related terms, is given here.
Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying in Washington: "Harassment, intimidation, or bullying" means any intentionally written message or image-including those that are electronically transmitted-verbal, or physical act, including but not limited to one shown to be motivated by race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, including gender expression or identity, mental or physical disability or other distinguishing characteristics, when an act:
- Physically harms a student or damages the student's property or
- Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student's education or
- Is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening educational environment or
- Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school.
Within that definition:
Bullying - negative actions which are intentional, repeated, negative, show a lack of empathy, and a power imbalance
Center for Disease Control defines bullying as any unwanted aggressive behavior(s) by another youth or group of youths who are not siblings or current dating partners that involves an observed or perceived power imbalance and is repeated multiple times or is highly likely to be repeated. Bullying may inflict harm or distress on the targeted youth including physical, psychological, social, or educational harm. A young person can be a perpetrator, a victim, or both (also known as "bully/victim"). Bullying can occur in-person and through technology. Electronic aggression or cyber-bullying is bullying that happens through email, chat rooms, instant message, a website, text message, or social media.
Stopbullying.gov: Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.
In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:
- An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power-such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity-to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people
- Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.
Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
Intimidation - implied or overt threats of physical violence - WAC 495A-121-011
Harassment - any malicious act, which causes harm to any person's physical or mental well being - WAC 495A121-011
- Discriminatory harassment does not have to include intent to harm, be directed at a specific target, or involve repeated incidents. Equity Book: p.32
Malicious harassment - threat to harm (often based on protected category)
Sexual harassment - unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct directed at person because of his/her sex where:
(a) Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's academic standing or employment; or
(b) Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic decisions or employment affecting such individual; or
(c) Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or learning environment. WAC 495A-121-011
Hazing - any method of initiation into a student organization or living group... that causes, or is likely to cause bodily danger or physical harm, or serious mental or emotional harm...
For questions about sexual, discriminatory or disability harassment, please see the list of District Equity Compliance Coordinators.