Navigating troubled waters
On Oct. 26, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights issued a 10-page letter reminding schools of their requirements under federal anti-discrimination laws. The letter clarifies the relationship between bullying and discriminatory harassment under civil rights laws enforced by U.S. Ed.
“By limiting its response to a specific application of its anti-bullying disciplinary policy, a school may fail to properly consider whether the student misconduct also results in discriminatory harassment,” wrote Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali.
In a press release issued that same day, President Barack Obama said: “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. We have an obligation to ensure that our schools are safe for all of our kids.”
The letter comes on the heels of several suicides by young people that have been highly publicized nationally.
View the letter and accompanying fact sheet.