How does Washington State law define Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying (HIB)?

Washington state law, at RCW 28A.300.285, defines bullying and harassment as:

Any intentional electronic, written, verbal, or physical act, including but not limited to one shown to be motivated by any characteristic in RCW 9A.36.080(3), or other distinguishing characteristics, when the intentional electronic, written, verbal, or physical act:

  1. Physically harms a student or damages the student’s property; or
  2. Has the effect of substantially disrupting a student’s education; or
  3. Is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening educational environment; or
  4. Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school.

Nothing in this section requires the affected student to actually possess a characteristic that is a basis for the harassment, intimidation, or bullying.

RCW 28A.300.285(2). Find it online at

The Washington State law prohibiting bullying and harassment in schools was first passed in 2002. It has been changed a couple of times since then, to include “electronic” or online bullying, and to require each school district to adopt the state model policy and procedure on preventing and responding to harassment and bullying. The law makes each school district responsible for addressing harassment and bullying in its schools.