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Entries in Bullying (33)

Tuesday
Oct262010

Education Department Cracks Down on Bullying

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Department of Education issued guidance to educators across the country, clarifying that certain forms of bullying, such as harassment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students based on gender stereotypes, violate federal education anti-discrimination laws and, in extreme cases, posed the possibility of pulling education funding from schools failing to comply with the department’s standards, which has never been done despite the option existing.

The guidance issued by the Department of Education does not contain any new legal criteria but rather, for the first time, provides a clarification that bullying of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students based on gender stereotypes is considered harassment.

In the form of a “Dear Colleague,” letter, the guidance was sent to over 15,000 schools and school districts, and over 5,000 colleges and universities across the country.  The White House will also host a conference on bullying next year to spark a dialog between government officials, educators, parents and students on the ways to unite to prevent bullying in schools.

The Department of Education plans to work on the local level to eradicate bullying and the cultures that foster harassment in schools but believes everyone holds a responsibility to fight against the root causes of bullying.

“Nobody gets a pass here,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said on a Tuesday conference call.  “We don’t get a pass.  Congress doesn’t get a pass,” he said. “We need to point fingers and we can fix this thing.  So I think everyone who cares about our nation’s young people has a responsibility to step up and be part of the solution.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct262010

Department of Education to Issue Bullying Guidance to Schools

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Department of Education will issue guidance Tuesday clarifying that certain forms of student bullying violate federal education anti-discrimination laws. The White House will also announce that it's hosting a conference on bullying early next year to raise awareness and educate parents, students and teachers about the tools available to prevent harassment.

“We’ve got to dispel the myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage, or an inevitable part of growing up. It’s not,” President Obama said in a written statement. “We have an obligation to ensure that our schools are safe for all of our kids. Every single young person deserves the opportunity to learn and grow and achieve their potential, without having to worry about the constant threat of harassment.”

Although current laws do not protect against harassment based on sexual orientation, they do protect against the harassment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals based on gender stereotypes. The current federal policy is the same as it was under the Bush administration.

“We are not creating new policy....We are making clear [to schools] what their responsibilities are,” Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali said on a conference call Monday afternoon. “Where it transcends just sexual orientation discrimination and becomes about gender stereotyping or not conforming to traditional gender roles, that very well could rise to the level of a violation of Title IX.”

The guidance, in the form of a “Dear Colleague” letter sent to schools, explains to educators their legal obligation to protect students from harassment and bullying.

The administration’s call to action comes in response to the recent wave of gay teen suicides. “Certainly, the unspeakable tragedies over the last several weeks contribute to our sense of urgency and it's important that the public know that there are things that schools and universities can and should be doing to help prevent such tragedies from occurring,” Ali told reporters on the call.

“Bullying is a problem that shouldn't exist.  No one should ever feel harassed or unsafe in a school simply because they act or think or dress differently than others,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement. “To every student who feels threatened or harassed -- for whatever reason -- please know that you are not alone. Please know that there are people who love you. And please know that we will protect you.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Oct242010

Teen Who Killed Himself Was Bullied, Father Says

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS) -- An Indiana father was trying to schedule a meeting with school officials last week to discuss what he calls a bullying incident when the man's 14-year-old son took his own life.

Corey Moore says students bullied his son Jamarcus, throwing metal at him in welding class.  Moore says there had been other instances of bullying and name-calling in the past at the high school, where the boy was a freshman, as well as in junior high.  

Hamilton Southeastern High School in Fishers, Ind., issued a statement, saying "Events like these cause all of us to wonder what might have led to this tragedy.  As we learn more about the situation, we will be prepared to examine any circumstances that warrant our review." 

Moore says the school has to pay more attention to such matters. At the school that his son attended, he says, the entire focus was solely on curriculum.  Other students say they are willing to come forward and identify students who may have bullied Jamarcus.

A recent case at Rutgers University in New Jersey has aimed a spotlight on bullying among young people.  In that instance, a freshman leapt from the George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River after his roommate and another student posted live video of the student during a sexual encounter.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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