Bullying, Harassment, & Civil Rights

Bullying, Harassment, & Civil Rights


HELLO. I’M ARNE DUNCAN,
U.S. SECRETARY OF EDUCATION. A LOT OF NATIONAL ATTENTION
HAS BEEN FOCUSED ON BULLYING AND HARASSMENT, INCLUDING
A WHITE HOUSE BULLYING SUMMIT AND GUIDANCE FROM
OUR DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. WE’RE CONCERNED BECAUSE
NEARLY A THIRD OF STUDENTS BETWEEN 12 AND 18 YEARS OLD
REPORT BEING BULLIED IN SCHOOL. THESE CHILDREN AND YOUTH
ARE MORE LIKELY TO DEVELOP SYMPTOMS
OF DEPRESSION, HAVE SUICIDAL THOUGHTS,
AVOID SCHOOL, HAVE LOWER ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE,
OR EVEN HARM THEMSELVES. IN AN IMPORTANT “DEAR COLLEAGUE”
LETTER TO EDUCATORS, WE LAY OUT OUR CONCERNS
ABOUT THESE ISSUES. WE DESCRIBE THE LEGAL
OBLIGATIONS SCHOOLS HAVE UNDER FEDERAL
ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAWS WHEN STUDENT MISCONDUCT INVOLVES
HARASSMENT OF A PROTECTED CLASS. ALTHOUGH NOT ALL BULLYING
IS HARASSMENT AND NOT ALL HARASSMENT
IS BULLYING, SCHOOLS NEED TO CLEARLY
UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCES AND THEIR LEGAL OBLIGATIONS
WITH RESPECT TO BOTH. WHILE ANTI-BULLYING POLICIES
ARE AN IMPORTANT TOOL FOR ADDRESSING
STUDENT MISCONDUCT, SCHOOLS CAN’T ALWAYS RELY
ON THOSE POLICIES ALONE. THEY MUST BE ABLE TO ADDRESS
DISCRIMINATORY HARASSMENT AS REQUIRED UNDER FEDERAL
CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS, AND EVEN WHEN BULLYING
OR HARASSMENT ISN’T A CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATION, WE EXPECT SCHOOLS TO HELP
PREVENT THOSE BEHAVIORS SO ALL STUDENTS CAN BE SAFE
FROM THE PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL HARMS
THAT THEY MAY CAUSE. WE HOPE THIS VIDEO WILL HELP
SCHOOLS, STUDENTS, AND THEIR FAMILIES UNDERSTAND
SCHOOLS’ OBLIGATIONS UNDER FEDERAL LAW
TO RESPOND TO HARASSMENT. A WEBSITE SHOWN
AT THE END OF THE VIDEO WILL LEAD YOU TO MORE RESOURCES. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR WATCHING
AND FOR YOUR COMMITMENT TO KEEPING ALL
OF OUR CHILDREN SAFE. HELLO. I’M MORGAN FREEMAN. I’M HERE TO TALK TO YOU
ABOUT HARASSMENT AND BULLYING IN OUR SCHOOLS. AS YOU JUST HEARD
ARNE DUNCAN SAY, TOO MANY OF OUR YOUNG PEOPLE
DON’T FEEL SAFE IN SCHOOL. WE HAVE TO CHANGE THAT,
AND TOGETHER, WE CAN. COME LEARN WITH ME WHAT WE
AND OUR SCHOOLS CAN DO AND MUST DO TO END HARASSMENT. FIRST, IT’S IMPORTANT
FOR EVERYONE TO UNDERSTAND WHAT HARASSMENT IS. HARASSING CONDUCT
MAY TAKE MANY FORMS, INCLUDING THREATS,
PHYSICAL ASSAULTS, AND VERBAL AND WRITTEN ABUSE. THIS CONDUCT MAY BE
PHYSICALLY THREATENING, DEGRADING, OR HUMILIATING. HARASSMENT CAN HAPPEN IN PERSON
OR BY PHONE OR ON THE INTERNET. IT’S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT NOT ALL BULLYING
CONSTITUTES HARASSMENT… AND NOT ALL HARASSMENT
IS A FORM OF BULLYING. WHILE FEDERAL LAW
DOES NOT SPECIFY WHAT A SCHOOL’S RESPONSE
TO BULLYING SHOULD BE, SCHOOLS MAY HAVE OBLIGATIONS
UNDER THEIR OWN STATE LAWS. SCHOOLS DO, HOWEVER, HAVE LEGAL
OBLIGATIONS UNDER FEDERAL LAWS WHEN IT COMES
TO DISCRIMINATORY HARASSMENT. THE U.S. DEPARTMENTS
OF JUSTICE AND EDUCATION ENFORCE FEDERAL
CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS THAT PROTECT STUDENTS
FROM HARASSMENT. THESE LAWS PROTECT STUDENTS
FROM HARASSMENT WHEN IT IS BASED ON THEIR ACTUAL
OR PERCEIVED RACE; COLOR; NATIONAL ORIGIN;
SEX, WHICH MAY INCLUDE GENDER IDENTITY, GENDER
EXPRESSION, AND PREGNANCY; RELIGION; AND DISABILITY. UNDER THESE LAWS,
HARASSMENT IS DEFINED AS UNWELCOME CONDUCT
BASED ON A PROTECTED CLASS. WHAT DOES HARASSMENT LOOK LIKE? A GROUP OF ASIAN AMERICAN
STUDENTS AT A HIGH SCHOOL IS HARASSED DAILY,
PHYSICALLY ASSAULTED, TAUNTED, AND TOLD BY OTHER STUDENTS
TO “GO BACK TO CHINA,” FORCING THEM TO WALK AROUND
THE BUILDING TO GET TO CLASS. THIS IS HARASSMENT BASED ON STUDENTS’ RACE
AND NATIONAL ORIGIN. COMMENTS ARE MADE
TO MUSLIM STUDENTS AND STUDENTS PERCEIVED TO BE
MUSLIM MOCKING THEIR CULTURE AND SUGGESTING THE STUDENTS
ARE TERRORISTS. ONE MUSLIM STUDENT IS TOLD
THAT HE WILL BE BEATEN UP FOR HAVING A COPY OF THE KORAN
IN HIS LOCKER. A FIGHT BREAKS OUT
BETWEEN THE TARGETED STUDENTS AND THE OFFENDING STUDENTS. THIS IS HARASSMENT BASED ON
NATIONAL ORIGIN AND RELIGION. CLASSMATES OF A GAY HIGH-SCHOOL
STUDENT WRITE ANTI-GAY SLURS AND SEXUAL COMMENTS
ON HIS LOCKER AND PHYSICALLY ASSAULT,
THREATEN, AND RIDICULE HIM BECAUSE HE DOES NOT CONFORM
TO STEREOTYPICAL NOTIONS OF HOW TEENAGE BOYS ARE EXPECTED
TO ACT AND APPEAR. TITLE IX PROHIBITS HARASSMENT
OF ALL STUDENTS, EVEN IF THE HARASSER AND TARGET
ARE MEMBERS OF THE SAME SEX. ALTHOUGH TITLE IX DOES NOT
PROHIBIT DISCRIMINATION BASED SOLELY
ON SEXUAL ORIENTATION, THIS EXAMPLE ALSO
INCLUDES SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND HARASSMENT BASED
ON SEX STEREOTYPES BECAUSE THIS STUDENT
WAS HARASSED FOR FAILING TO ACT AS SOME OF HIS PEERS BELIEVED
A BOY SHOULD ACT. HARASSMENT CREATES
A HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT WHEN THE CONDUCT IS SUFFICIENTLY
SERIOUS TO INTERFERE WITH OR LIMIT A STUDENT’S ABILITY
TO PARTICIPATE IN OR BENEFIT
FROM THE SCHOOL’S PROGRAM ON THE BASIS
OF A PROTECTED CLASS. FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS
REQUIRE A SCHOOL DISTRICT TO INVESTIGATE
HARASSING INCIDENTS AND TO RESPOND APPROPRIATELY. WHETHER A HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT
EXISTS IS EVALUATED FROM BOTH THE STUDENT’S
SUBJECTIVE PERSPECTIVE AND OBJECTIVELY. HARASSMENT HAS TO BE MORE
THAN JUST CASUAL OR ISOLATED INCIDENTS TO CREATE
A HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT. THE MORE SEVERE THE CONDUCT, THE LESS NEED THERE IS TO SHOW
REPEATED INCIDENTS, ESPECIALLY IF THE HARASSMENT
INVOLVES PHYSICAL CONDUCT. SCHOOLS MUST ADDRESS ALL
INCIDENTS OF HARASSMENT TO ENSURE THESE INCIDENTS
NEVER ESCALATE INTO A HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT. Freeman: IF HARASSMENT
IS TOLERATED OR IGNORED, IT CAN IMPACT
THE ENTIRE SCHOOL CLIMATE AND UNDERMINE EVERYONE’S
SENSE OF SAFETY IN THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT,
NOT JUST THE TARGETED STUDENTS. SCHOOLS HAVE TO ADDRESS
ALL INCIDENTS OF HARASSMENT ABOUT WHICH THEY KNOW
OR REASONABLY SHOULD HAVE KNOWN, BUT HOW ARE SCHOOLS
EXPECTED TO KNOW ABOUT HARASSMENT
THAT’S OCCURRING? SCHOOLS SHOULD START
BY TRAINING ALL EMPLOYEES SO EVERYONE KNOWS
HOW TO RECOGNIZE HARASSMENT AND RESPOND APPROPRIATELY
WHEN IT HAPPENS. HARASSMENT COMPLAINTS
CAN BE FILED LOCALLY… OR WITH THE APPROPRIATE
FEDERAL AGENCIES THAT HANDLE SUCH CLAIMS. SCHOOLS MAY BECOME AWARE
OF HARASSMENT FROM A VARIETY OF SOURCES. ONCE THE SCHOOL KNOWS
ABOUT HARASSMENT OR SHOULD KNOW ABOUT IT, THEN IT’S RESPONSIBLE
FOR ADDRESSING IT. ONCE A SCHOOL
KNOWS ABOUT HARASSMENT, IT MUST PROMPTLY
AND IMPARTIALLY INVESTIGATE TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED AND WHETHER DISCRIMINATORY
CONDUCT OCCURRED. INVESTIGATIONS ARE IMPORTANT
BECAUSE THEY MAY REVEAL THAT THE SITUATION CAN BE EASILY
RESOLVED OR THEY MAY REVEAL THAT THE INCIDENT WAS MORE
SERIOUS THAN FIRST APPEARED OR THAT CERTAIN STUDENTS
HAVE ENGAGED IN REPEATED ACTS OF HARASSMENT. IF A SCHOOL
FINDS THAT HARASSMENT THAT HAS CREATED A HOSTILE
ENVIRONMENT HAS OCCURRED, IMMEDIATE ACTION MUST BE TAKEN
TO END THE HARASSMENT, ELIMINATE
THE HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT, AND PREVENT RECURRENCE
AND RETALIATION. FAILURE TO TAKE THESE ACTIONS IS A VIOLATION
OF FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS. Freeman: SCHOOLS CAN EFFECTIVELY
RESPOND TO HARASSMENT WHILE COMPLYING
WITH CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS BY TAKING REASONABLE STEPS TO
STOP HARASSMENT WHEN IT OCCURS, ELIMINATE
ANY HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT, AND PREVENT ITS RECURRENCE. THIS MAY INCLUDE PROVIDING
TARGETS OF HARASSMENT WITH COUNSELING, ACADEMIC
SUPPORT SERVICES LIKE TUTORING, AND OTHER SERVICES,
AND PROVIDING PERPETRATORS OF HARASSMENT WITH COUNSELING
AND OTHER SERVICES. SCHOOLS CAN’T PREVENT ALL
HARASSMENT BEFORE IT HAPPENS OR KNOW ABOUT EVERY INCIDENT
OF STUDENT MISCONDUCT, BUT THEY SHOULD CREATE
SAFE SCHOOL CLIMATES THAT SUPPORT POSITIVE BEHAVIOR
AND LET THE COMMUNITY KNOW THAT HARASSMENT AND OTHER FORMS
OF DISCRIMINATION ARE NOT TOLERATED. SCHOOLS SHOULD MAKE SURE
THAT EVERYONE KNOWS ABOUT HARASSMENT POLICIES
AND HOW TO REPORT ANY PROBLEMS, INCLUDING MAKING POLICIES
AVAILABLE TO LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENT
STUDENTS AND PARENTS IN A LANGUAGE THEY UNDERSTAND. CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS AND GUIDANCE
PROVIDE THAT SCHOOLS SHOULD HAVE 3 THINGS– ONE, A NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY
THAT IS WIDELY PUBLISHED; TWO, GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES
FOR STUDENTS TO FILE HARASSMENT COMPLAINTS
THAT ARE EASILY ACCESSED; AND 3, A COORDINATOR FOR COMPLIANCE
WITH CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS. EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW
WHO THAT PERSON IS AND HOW TO CONTACT HIM OR HER. WHEN HARASSMENT OCCURS,
THE SCHOOL’S FIRST PRIORITY IS TO RESTORE THE LEARNING
ENVIRONMENT FOR EVERYONE. THE SCHOOL SHOULD DIRECTLY
ADDRESS THE HARASSING BEHAVIORS AND PROVIDE STUDENTS WHO ENGAGE
IN THOSE BEHAVIORS WITH THE SOCIAL, BEHAVIORAL, AND MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORTS
THEY NEED. SUSPENSION, EXPULSION,
AND OTHER CONSEQUENCES THAT REMOVE STUDENTS
FROM THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT SHOULD BE A LAST RESORT BECAUSE
MERELY REMOVING STUDENTS FROM THE CLASSROOM MAY WORSEN
BEHAVIOR WITHOUT ADDRESSING WHY THE CONDUCT
WAS IMPERMISSIBLE OR PROVIDING THE STUDENT
WITH NECESSARY GUIDANCE ABOUT HOW TO BEHAVE AT SCHOOL. THESE STUDENTS MAY HAVE FACED
SIGNIFICANT MENTAL OR EMOTIONAL HEALTH CHALLENGES
OF THEIR OWN, AND THESE ISSUES
MUST BE ADDRESSED WITH SUPPORTIVE APPROACHES LIKE
MULTI-TIERED BEHAVIORAL SUPPORTS AND SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING
IF EDUCATORS ARE TO CREATE SAFE SCHOOL CLIMATES
IN WHICH ALL STUDENTS CAN LEARN. FINALLY, IT’S A GOOD IDEA TO
WORK WITH THE SCHOOL COMMUNITY TO DEVELOP AND PERIODICALLY
REVIEW POLICIES TO ENSURE THAT THEY SUPPORT A POSITIVE
SCHOOL CLIMATE AND CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT THAT ENCOURAGES
COMMUNICATION ABOUT WHAT’S GOING ON,
WHAT’S WRONG, AND WHAT’S WORKING. MAKING SURE EVERYONE IS FULLY
AWARE OF POLICIES IS VITAL, AS IS MAKING SURE
EVERYONE IS TRAINED. Freeman: THERE ARE MANY
RESOURCES TO HELP SCHOOLS UNDERSTAND HARASSMENT,
CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS, AND EVEN RECEIVE FREE TRAINING
AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE IN BUILDING THEIR RESPONSES,
BOTH WITHIN SCHOOLS AND AS PARTNERS
WITH THE COMMUNITY. GO TO STOPBULLYING.GOV
TO FIND OUT MORE. SCHOOLS HAVE
A RESPONSIBILITY TO CREATE SAFE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
FOR ALL STUDENTS. WHEN HARASSMENT IS BASED
ON A PROTECTED CLASS AND CREATES
A HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT, SCHOOLS HAVE AN OBLIGATION
UNDER FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS TO TAKE ACTION. THE U.S. DEPARTMENTS
OF EDUCATION AND JUSTICE ARE COMMITTED TO ENSURING
THIS OBLIGATION IS MET, AND THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
AND HUMAN SERVICES SUPPORTS THIS EFFORT. WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO USE
THE RESOURCES IDENTIFIED IN THIS VIDEO TO SUPPORT
YOUR OWN EFFORTS TO ADDRESS HARASSMENT
AND HELP US ALL BUILD SAFE, SUPPORTIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
FOR OUR YOUNG.

Comments

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    PandaPwnage

    The problem with this whole thing about sex is that they say harassment includes anti-gay slurs and messages, but say that if you target solely their sexual orientation that it's not harassment.

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    Michelle MacMillan

    What about when a teachers child is the bully and she gets the favoritism. Casue the mother knows the main people in the school? What if the lead adults tell the child being bullied is being told she is just trying to get the kid in trouble? Who do you trun to cause I have turned to distric assit Gov. Live radio campain for senit I'm getting no where and I just want my child transfered out of this school like a week ago not wait for a meeting with the adult that bully my kid cause they are friends with the teacher.

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    misspinkpunkykat

    My teachers were my biggest bullies. If I wasn't homeschooled I would have probably killed myself by the age of 13. No one took bullying, let alone a teacher being the bully back in the early to mid 90's.

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    Brandon Harvison

    If you know anything about civil rights we need help they are fixing to if haven't already destroy our life in Washington county Alabama crupt system Corrupt police, corrupt sheriff's office, unlawful arrest, unlawful search and seizure, theft of property, harassment,

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    Vac Aspen

    Best use of YouTube. Taking 5 minutes to study how they split hairs about bullying vs. Harassment is going to save you a lot of time further anguish and attitude from law enforcement for wasting their time.

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    Greggy Eggy

    Well it seems like the schools aren’t doing so well are they if kids are literally ending their own lives even if they don’t want to. And the school has no idea why they did because they aren’t doing well so thanks I really appreciate the effort but we need a better plan

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