Governor Steve Bullock today signed the Bully Free Montana Act into law at Jefferson School. The law directs local school districts to develop a process that students and families can follow to report and address bullying in their schools.

“As a father, I believe that when students enter the classroom, it should be a safe and supportive environment where they can focus on learning, without fear of bullying,” Bullock said of the law. “Montana has finally joined the rest of our nation in recognizing that this is an issue that must be addressed.”

Efforts to pass a bullying prevention law began in 2005, but have thus far been unsuccessful. Under the Bully Free Montana law, bullying is defined as repeated harassment, intimidation or hazing, threatening, insulting or demeaning acts or written communication. These actions can be physical, relational, or cyber acts.

Nearly 70 percent of Montana third graders indicated that they believe that bullying is a problem in their schools. In addition, one in four high school students reported having been bullied on school property within the last year, and 18 percent reported being the victim of cyber bullying.