HigherEdMorning.comCan Obama administration rein in bullying?

Can Obama administration rein in bullying?

November 9, 2010 by Claire Knight
Posted in: In this week's e-newsletter, Latest News & Views, Student Life

No doubt about it: Bullying and cyberbullying have caused plenty of headaches on campus. Now school officials have more guidance than ever before.

As part of its anti-bullying and harassment campaign, the Obama administration has released comprehensive guidance on how civil rights laws may come into play during bullying incidents on campus.

The goal is to “provide school districts, colleges and universities with details about when harassment can rise to the level of civil rights violations and what they should be doing about it,” according to Russlynn Ali, assistant education secretary for civil rights.

Ali pointed out that discipline under anti-bullying policies might not be sufficient if the bullying and harassment rises to the level of a civil rights violation.

In practical terms, the guidance says schools and universities have additional responsibilities to ensure that victims don’t continue to feel intimidated or harassed.

Possible steps to take include:

  • counseling the perpetrators
  • labeling the behavior publicly — for example, “anti-Sematic” or “anti-gay,” and
  • publicizing how students can report harassment.

Will this new guidance help campus officials get the bullying epidemic under control? Chime in below.

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