# Cyber Bullying Laws

There is no federal law that specifically applies to bullying. In some cases, when bullying is based on race or ethnicity, color, national origin, sex, disability, or religion*, bullying overlaps with harassment and schools are legally obligated to address it. Read more about when bullying overlaps with harassment and how to report it to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

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### Criminal Sanction?

All states have various criminal laws that might apply to bullying behaviors, depending on the nature of the act. For example, if someone is physically hurting another, assault statutes might apply. All states also have criminal harassment and/or stalking statutes, and most include explicit reference to electronic forms. States with a “YES” in this column are the ones that expressly include electronic forms of harassment.

### School Sanction?

In certain states, the bullying law specifies provisions allowing the school to discipline students in appropriate and measured ways.

### School Policy?

In every state except Montana, the bullying law mandates schools to have a formal policy to help with identification of the behavior and discuss the possible formal and/or informal disciplinary responses that can follow. Some laws require certain elements to be included in the policy (such as a specific definition of bullying), while others simply require a policy without specification.

### Off-campus?

Federal case law allows schools to discipline students for off-campus behavior that results in a substantial disruption of the learning environment at school. States with a “YES” in this column have simply codified that standard in state statute.

State Includes Cyberbullying or Online Harassment Criminal Sanction
for Cyberbullying or Electronic Harassment
School Sanction
for Cyberbullying
School Policy Includes Off-Campus Law Last Updated
Alabama YES YES NO YES NO
2009
Alaska NO YES YES YES NO
7/1/2007
Arizona YES YES YES YES NO
4/19/2011
Arkansas YES YES YES YES YES
7/1/2011
California YES YES YES YES YES
10/10/2013
Colorado YES YES YES YES NO
7/1/2015
Connecticut YES YES YES YES YES
7/13/2011
Delaware YES YES YES YES NO
8/10/2016
FEDERAL proposed NO NO NO NO
9/1/2009
Florida YES YES YES YES YES
7/1/2013
Georgia YES YES YES YES proposed
8/1/2011
Hawaii YES YES YES YES NO
6/28/2012
Idaho YES YES YES YES NO
7/1/2015
Illinois YES YES YES YES YES
1/1/2015
Indiana YES YES YES YES NO
7/1/2018
Iowa YES YES YES YES NO
2007
Kansas YES YES YES YES NO
6/28/2013
Kentucky YES YES YES YES NO
4/19/2016
Louisiana YES YES YES YES YES
8/1/2010
Maine YES NO YES YES NO
2011
Maryland YES YES YES YES NO
5/2/2013
Massachusetts YES YES YES YES YES
5/3/2010
Michigan YES YES NO YES YES
3/27/2019
Minnesota YES NO YES YES YES
7/1/2014
Mississippi YES YES YES YES NO
3/11/2011
Missouri YES YES YES YES NO
2016
Montana YES YES NO YES NO
4/21/2015
Nebraska YES NO YES YES proposed
2008
Nevada YES YES NO YES NO
3/23/2015
New Hampshire YES NO NO YES YES
7/1/2010
New Jersey YES YES YES YES YES
1/17/2014
New Mexico YES NO YES YES NO
4/1/2015
New York YES YES YES YES YES
7/1/2012
North Carolina YES YES YES YES NO
10/1/2012
North Dakota YES YES YES YES NO
7/1/2012
Ohio YES YES YES YES NO
11/4/2012
Oklahoma YES YES YES YES NO
6/10/2013
Oregon YES YES YES YES NO
7/2/2012
Pennsylvania YES YES YES YES YES
7/10/2015
Rhode Island YES YES YES YES NO
6/20/2012
South Carolina YES YES YES YES NO
2006
South Dakota YES YES YES YES YES
3/22/2012
Tennessee YES YES YES YES YES
2014
Texas YES YES YES YES YES
6/12/2017
Utah YES YES YES YES NO
9/1/2009
Vermont YES YES YES YES YES
5/11/2012
Virginia YES YES YES YES NO
7/1/2013
Washington YES YES YES YES NO
8/1/2010
Washington DC YES NO YES YES YES
6/22/2012
West Virginia YES YES YES YES NO
7/1/2012
Wisconsin NO YES YES YES NO
8/15/2010
Wyoming YES NO YES YES NO
12/31/2009