Are schools only responsible for bullying that happens in school?

No.  Schools must also address bullying that happens on the school bus, during extracurricular activities before or after school, and on field trips.  

Sometimes, schools also have to address bullying that occurs through electronic technology—known as cyberbullying.  This is true even when the cyberbullying happens off school grounds.  Although the law in this area is still in an early stage of development, you should request that a school take action when cyberbullying happens off campus.  Here’s why:

The law generally recognizes that, if there is a sufficient connection between off-campus cyberbulling and the school environment, and the online bullying “substantially disrupts” the school environment, then a school may take disciplinary action against the aggressor.

More often than not, off-campus cyberbullying is accompanied by traditional forms of bullying at school, so there is a connection between what’s happening on and off campus.  

Online bullying often causes substantial disruption at school, leading to increased bullying at school.

So, when a school says it can’t do anything about online bullying that occurs off school property, that’s not true.  There are many circumstances where a school can take action.

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