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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Nine Recommendations for Federal Action to Combat Bullying and Harassment

October 8, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

This week, a group of more than 70 civil rights organizations, including The Leadership Conference, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, offered a set of recommendations for federal action, in the wake of the deaths of four teens who had been reportedly subjected to harassment and bullying based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation.

The groups recommend the following:

  • The federal government should fund innovative policies, programs, initiatives, education, and training for school personnel and students to prevent and respond to bullying, cyberbullying, and harassment and other school violence incidents.

  • The federal government should require every state and local educational institution to adopt an inclusive anti-bullying and harassment policy (including cyberbullying) focused on restricting acts of harassment, intimidation, and invasion of privacy.

  • The federal government should fund and conduct strong research and evaluation about the nature and magnitude of the bullying, cyberbullying, and harassment problem in America and efforts to address it, in conjunction with behavioral and social scientists, academic institutions and non-profit community-based organizations.

  • All appropriate and relevant Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Justice surveys and research instruments designed to inform policy should collect and integrate detailed information about bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, and other school violence incidents.

  • Federal agencies should greatly expand and publicize their anti-bullying and harassment resources.

  • The administration should promote the enactment of comprehensive legislation focusing on inclusive anti-bias education, hate crime prevention, and bullying, cyberbullying, and harassment education, policies, training, social and emotional learning, and school-wide positive behavior supports and early intervention initiatives.  Anti-bullying and harassment provisions should be included in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, and other appropriate legislative vehicles.

  • The Department of Justice and the Department of Education should more aggressively use existing authority to enforce current civil rights protections – including Title VI, Title IX, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. 

  • Federal agencies should discourage improper school use of exclusionary discipline practices.

  • Government leaders should use their bully pulpit to build awareness of the national problem of school-based bullying, cyberbullying, and harassment and should condemn bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, and bias-motivated violence whenever and wherever it occurs. 

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