School boards across the country are protesting federal bullying policy. The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is challenging the U.S. Department of Education on the federal interpretation of bullying as a civil rights violation.
As JJIE reported in October, the Department sent a 10-page letter warning schools to comply with federal rules to prevent bullying and harassment. It also said student bullying may violate anti-discrimination laws.
The letter sent to schools nationwide said: “When…harassment is based on race, color, national origin, sex, or disability, it violates the civil rights laws that [the Office for Civil Rights] enforces.”
NSBA sent a letter Tuesday to Charlie Rose, General Counsel for the Department of Education, urging the Department to clarify it’s definition of bullying and harassment as a civil rights violation.
“…Our fear is that absent clarification, the Department’s expansive reading of the law as stated in the [letter] will invite misguided litigation that needlessly drains precious school resources and creates adversarial climates that distract schools from their educational mission,” NSBA’s letter says.
In Georgia, new bullying polices must be in place by next school year. Each local board of education must adopt a new bullying policy by August 1, 2011 that does the following:
- Prohibits student-to-student bullying in the code of conduct.
- Requires third time bullying offenders to be assigned to an alternative school.
- Establishes a plan to notify parents or guardians of kids who bully or are the victim of bullying.
- Ensures that students and parents are notified about the new policy.
Georgia’s Department of Education has a bullying policy posted on its website to help local school systems create their new policies.