School districts would be required to set up and publicize telephone hotlines and campus "tip boxes" for receiving reports on bullying incidents that occur on school property, including school buses, under a bill introduced earlier this month to amend a current statute.
All reports made by students, parents or guardians and school staff would remain confidential and would not be added a student's permanent educational record. Maryland defines bullying, harassment or intimidation as follows: intentional conduct, including verbal, physical, or written conduct or an intentional electronic communication that creates a hostile educational environment, is disruptive, threatening or "seriously intimidating" by nature and occurs on school property, at a school activity or on the school bus.
County schools board would then be required to report the incidents.
The state law further defines bullying as "motivated by an actual or a perceived personal characteristic including race, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ancestry, physical attributes, socioeconomic status, familial status, or physical or mental ability or disability."
Delegate Jon Cardin, who is also running for Attorney General of Maryland, introduced the legislation on Jan. 8. He is the nephew of Sen. Ben Cardin.