Bullying Can Violate Civil Rights Laws
Bullying is on the agenda today as the government talks up its effort to stop bullying in schools. The government warned that bullying and harassment in school can violate civil rights, and failure to protect these rights can have serious consequences.
If bullying isnt handled effectively by schools, particularly that of gender, race and sexuality, they risk being cited for civil right violations. In extreme cases, according to the guidelines, action could lead to cuts in funding.
"In extreme cases, schools could be stripped of their federal education monies if they don't comply with all of our civil rights laws," said Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary for civil rights. Also on the call were Arne Duncan, secretary of education, and White House Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes.
The issue of harassment gained prominence this year after a spate of suicides by students who were being bullied. President Obama has called for greater awareness of the problem, saying the nation must "dispel the myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up."
The guidelines were part of a letter that began "Dear Colleague" sent Tuesday to thousands of schools, colleges, universities and school districts around the country that included examples of bullying and harassment cases that constituted violations of federal civil rights laws.
The White House plans to hold a conference between education agencies, hosted by the Secretary for Education. It aims to help in preventing bullying and harassment in schools and other education establishments.