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Bullying Prevention

Bullying Defined

Among researchers:

Bullying is commonly understood as aggressive behavior that (a) is intended to cause distress and harm, (b) exists in a relationship in which there is an imbalance of power and strength, and (c) is repeated over time Bullying may involve physical actions, words, gestures and social isolation. Although bullying may involve direct, relatively open attacks against a victim, bullying is frequently indirect, or subtle in nature (spreading rumors, enlisting a friend to assault a child).


The classic definition of bullying in Utah Schools was expanded by the Utah Legislature. Changes are reflected in Utah State Board of Education (USBE) rule R277-613:

1-B. "Bullying" means intentionally or knowingly committing an act that:

1.a endangers the physical health or safety of a school employee or student;

b. involves any brutality of a physical nature such as whipping, beating, branding, calisthenics, bruising, electric shocking, placing of a harmful substance on the body, or exposure to the elements;

c. involves consumption of any food, liquor, drug, or other substance;

d. involves other physical activity that endangers the physical health and safety of a school employee or student; or

e. involves physically obstructing a school employee's or student's freedom to move; and

2. is done for the purpose of placing a school employee or student in fear of:

a. physical harm to the school employee or student; or

b. harm to property of the school employee or student.”

Utah Code

The following sections of the Utah Code also have bearing on Bullying Prevention and Intervention:

  • Section 53A-1-402(1)(b)
    Requires the [Utah State Board of Education] Board to establish rules concerning discipline and control.
  • Section 53A-15-603
    Requires the Board to adopt rules that require a local school board or governing board of a charter school to enact gang prevention and intervention policies for all schools within the board's jurisdiction.
  • Section 53A- 11-901
    Directs local school boards and charter school governing boards to adopt conduct and discipline policies and directs the Board to develop model policies to assist local school boards and charter school governing boards.
  • Section 53A-1-401(3)
    Allows the Board to adopt rules in accordance with its responsibilities, and the responsibility of the Board to provide assistance with and ensure school district/charter school compliance with Section 53A-11a-301.


Verne Larsen
Prevention and Intervention Specialist
Phone: (801) 538-7713 | verne [dot] larsen [at] schools [dot] utah [dot] gov (Email)