The Louisiana House of Representatives blocked House Bill 112, a bill purporting to provide a definition of “bullying” among school students. This bill sought to define prohibited acts under Louisiana’s current anti-bullying law. The bill stated that a bullying gesture must be motivated by “an actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sexual orientation, gender . . . mental disability, or physical disability.” The sexual orientation provision drove most of the debate.
Louisiana has various laws providing protection from bullying. Louisiana law currently requires schools in certain parishes to implement policies that prohibit harassment and discrimination among students. In 2010, Louisiana enacted a statute criminalizing cyber-bullying. Louisiana’s cyber-bullying law criminalizes the “transmission of any electronic textual, visual, written, or oral communication with the malicious and willful intent to coerce, abuse, torment or intimidate a person under the age of 18.” The law applies to both adults and children. Bullies who are 17 and older may be fined a maximum of 500 dollars and sentenced to prison for up to six months. Children, on the other hand, must undergo counseling.
Civil remedies may also be available in cases of extreme bullying. Across the United States, parents have utilized tort law as a means of deterring the tragic physical and emotional consequences of extreme school bullying. For questions, contact Broussard & David at 1-888-337-2323 (toll free) or 337-233-2323 (local).