, only 5 states do not have legislation on bullying.
States that have adopted anti-bullying legislation report that the laws have led to increased teacher training, character education and sensitivity programs, according to Bully Policy USA, a group that tracks bullying legislation. It is difficult however to determine if theses policies and programs aimed at preventing bullying are having any effect as the reporting systems vary and some states do not even track bullying incidents. Clearly, legislation alone is not enough to eradicate these pervasive problem schools face daily.
Stop Bullying Now – State Laws on Bullying
The involvement of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), through issuing the Dear Colleague Letter: Harassment and Bullying, is unprecedented because it points out that student misconduct that falls under a school’s anti-bullying policy also may trigger responsibilities under one or more of the federal anti-discrimination laws enforced by the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and listed below:
- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 19641 (Title VI), which prohibits discrimination based on the basis of race, color, or national origin.
- Title IX of the Education Amendments of 19722 (Title IX), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 19733 (Section 504);
- Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 19904 (Title II). Section 504 and Title II prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability.
Office of Civil Rights – Dear Colleague Letter: Harassment and Bullying
Civil Rights Regulations and Bullying
The Letter reminds school districts that they may be violating these important civil rights statutes and the Department’s regulations when peer harassment is based on race, color, national origin, sex, or disability is sufficiently serious that it creates a hostile environment and such harassment is encouraged, tolerated, not adequately addressed, or ignored by school employees.
Further, the Letter states, “Once a school knows or reasonably should know of possible student-on-student harassment, it must take immediate and appropriate action to investigate or otherwise determine what occurred. If harassment has occurred, a school must take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end the harassment, eliminate any hostile environment, and prevent its recurrence. These duties are a school’s responsibility even if the misconduct also is covered by an anti-bullying policy and regardless of whether the student makes a complaint, asks the school to take action, or identifies the harassment as a form of discrimination.”
KVPR FM – Quality of Life
Bullying & Kettleman City – February 2011 Discusses the spread of bullying in Kettleman City. Program host Terry Phillips talks with Dr. Melinda Bossenmeyer, Ed.D.
Listen Now: QuickTime MP3
With this new perspective, Districts may be well served to update bullying prevention policies and Institute school wide approaches to addressing the problem. Below are some resources that should help with that process:
Stop Bullying Now – This is the first place I go for resources and information on bullying prevention. The site is updated frequently and the number of educator resources keeps growing. US Department of Health and Human Services Website on Bullying and how to prevent it. A section of children’s games and activities with suggestions for “What you can Do” is included. Also, there is large “What Adults Can Do” with numerous resources for educators.
Bullying Info Part of Find Youth Info.gov which is composed of 12 Federal Agencies that support programs and services focusing on Youth. A partner of Stop Bullying Now.
Teaching Tolerance Website.
A project of the Southern Poverty Law Center has a variety of Classroom Activities including Bullying Tips for Students, Peer Exclusion, Me and We: A Mix it up Activity, Put Downs and Put Ups, It’s o.k. to feel different, Stand up and many others related to racism, bullying, and school climate.
Department of Education Advisory Bullying and Harassment – Dear Colleague Letter info:
 National School Safety and Security Services. Article “Bullying and School Safety.” 2010
 Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Department of Human Services. Stop Bullying Now Campaign website “Lend a hand, Take a stand.” http://stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov/kids/
For a deeper dive into resources for Recess and Physical Education visit our Member’s Library. It’s FREE.
Bullying Prevention Link
Some of the articles lists below are in the Member Library:
Bullying: A Guide for Educators
What is Bullying? A Powerpoint Presentation
Bullying and How to Stop It.
Preventing Bullying: A Manual for Schools and Communities
Preventing and Countering School Based Harassment. A Resource Guide.
School Climate Questionnaire
Featured Article- How teachers should respond to bullying.
Featured Article- Why Bullying Programs Succeed or Fail?
Featured Article- Bullying Prevention: Life Lessons on Good and Evil