Last Updated on July 28, 2022 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995
Bullying is poisonous to schools and students. Sometimes school environments get so toxic, a bullying situation may not be able to be “fixed” or spreads throughout a school.
If there is a long term student bullying problem, the bullied student’s safety is the number one priority. If parents can’t handle the environment with school support, or the bullying is extensive, can a student be transferred out to another school in their school district simply and easily? Yes!
Bullied Students Have School Transfer Priority
The California legislature does not always do things right, but they wrote one law that can help a bullied student escape the madness. No, the law is not perfect, nor is this solution ideal, but for a parent of a bullied student, sometimes small things make big differences.
What the legislature gave us is a school transfer priority for bullied students.
California Education Code section 46600(d)(2) states:
(2) A school district of residence shall approve an intradistrict transfer request for a victim of an act of bullying unless the requested school is at maximum capacity, in which case the school district shall accept an intradistrict transfer request for a different school in the school district.
What this means is that a school district must grant a bullied student’s request to switch schools unless the school is overenrolled.
What If There Are No Other Schools in the District?
If there are no other schools in the district, then the school district has to release the student to attend another school district per Section 46600:
Notwithstanding any other law, and regardless of whether an agreement exists or a permit is issued pursuant to this section, if the school district of residence has only one school offering the grade level of the victim of an act of bullying and therefore there is no option for an intradistrict transfer, the victim of an act of bullying may apply for an interdistrict transfer and the school district of residence shall not prohibit the transfer if the school district of proposed enrollment approves the application for transfer.
Translation: if a student is in a one school district, they must be released to go to another school district if they are a bullying victim.
Why Should a Bullied Student Have to Leave Their School?
A bullied student should NOT have to leave their school to solve their bullying. The student should be protected, helped, and nurtured. The bullying should be stopped.
But, sometimes school bullying can’t be stopped fast enough for the bullied student to feel safe.
Or, the student may feel the environment is poisoned, no matter what may be done, and they just cannot continue in the school. Maybe that school environment just carries too many bad memories.
Additionally, let’s face it, sometimes schools just don’t do an adequate job of handling bullying. Schools may even protect the bullies.
Sometimes by the time legal counsel comes in, the bullies have grown from a small group to half the school… This type of toxic school climate can take a long time to fix. Meanwhile, protecting the bullying victim is paramount, so a transfer may be necessary.
Other Remedies Continue to Exist, Short of Transfer
Of course, parents do NOT have to move a student who has been the victim of bullying. This is just an option for the student should they want to relocate.
If bullying is occurring, the school needs written reports on it, and needs to jump in, investigate, and protect the student. Parents may want to try working with the school first. But it depends on how toxic the school is for the bullied student, whose safety and mental well being is always the priority.
Above All Else, Protect the Bullied Student
Far worse things can happen to students who are bullied than just a school transfer, and we don’t want something awful to occur. Protect the student first as the priority.
This may mean a temporary or long term transfer or just going on independent study while investigations proceed. Whatever it takes to protect the student should be the first priority for parents and schools.
California student bullying attorney and advocate Michelle Ball can help solve school bullying problems. From her Sacramento office, lawyer Michelle Ball may help statewide in Visalia, Auburn, Fairfield, Roseville, Clovis, Chico, Santa Barbara and many other locales.