Anti-Bullying Laws

Bullying in schools is a significant public health issue that affects millions of school children in the United States: in 2019, approximately 22% of students reported being bullied in school, according to the US Department of Education.

Bullying is robustly associated with many adverse outcomes for bullying victims, bystanders, and perpetrators, including depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, poor school performance, anti-social behaviors, and suicidal ideation.

In the past two decades, states have enacted anti-bullying laws as a strategy to prevent and respond to acts of bullying in schools. As public health interventions that target individual children, their schools, and communities, anti-bullying laws have great potential to impact large populations of youth. These laws were designed to improve school safety and climate by providing a blueprint of response strategies and intervention activities to be carried out by states, local communities, administration/staff of schools, and students.

This longitudinal dataset provides a comprehensive overview of anti-bullying laws across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, from January 1, 1999, through January 1, 2018. The map identifies the variations in the different laws, including whether cyberbullying is included in the state’s definition of bullying, where the law applies, which laws offer civil immunity for individuals reporting bullying incidents, and whether the laws identify a protected class of students.

This research was funded by the National Center for Injury Control and Prevention (Grant #R01CE002913). 

If you have any questions about the information provided here, please contact or Marizen Ramirez at

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