State laws prevent bullying by creating criminal punishments for those who interfere with a student's educational opportunities or disrupt the normal operations of any student within the school system, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Depending on the state, punishment can vary from a fine to expulsion to time in a correctional facility.
Various state laws exist to prevent harassment and threats toward others, regardless of age. States modify these laws to give schools jurisdiction over such incidents when they occur on school property or impact a student's learning, notes the National Conference of State Legislatures. In New Jersey, an amendment to an existing law allows school officials to punish students that officials accuse of bullying, even if the incident occurs off campus, as long as there is a connection to the school.
Every state in the United States has some form of anti-bullying laws, as of 2015. One study shows that the rates of bullying in school settings vary between 14.1 percent in Alabama and 26.7 percent in South Dakota, according to National Public Radio. Online bullying is a newer form of bullying by which people may harass, threaten or humiliate others using computers, cell phones and other electronic devices, explains the National Conference of State Legislatures.