The Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA), a bill spelling out specific groups of the student population currently victim to bullying and harassment, of which LGBTQ youth is one, has reached record support in Congress, with 176 bipartisan cosponsors in the House and 43 bipartisan cosponsors in the U.S. Senate.
Part of the larger Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that is currently up for routine reauthorization, the solid support for SSIA increases its chance of passage and would mandate that all 50 states not only recognize LGBTQ youth as vulnerable, but report all recorded incidents of bullying and harassment, so state and federal agencies can accurately measure the extent of the problem.
“We are extremely encouraged by the increased support for the Safe Schools Improvement Act, particularly among our Republican friends who recognize that all students deserve to be safe in school regardless of who they are,” says Eliza Byard, executive director at the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the organization consulted for the wording of SSIA.
As bullying is not an LGBTQ issue alone, SSIA addresses harassment for all victimized students, with race, color or perceived race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion and disability marked as identifiers. States are free to add to this list as required – Illinois already enacted a similar law, and includes military families/status among the afore-mentioned categories. Continue reading “Congress weighs in against bullying”
While people around the sports world see the suspended Richie Incognito as a bigoted bully, retired NFL offensive lineman Kyle Turley thinks it’s perfectly plausible that the Miami Dolphins guard was carrying out orders from his coaches to toughen up teammate Jonathan Martin.
Turley said he was given those enforcer responsibilities in college and the pros, reports the LA Times
“I took on that leadership role,” Turley said. “The coaches gave me those reins.“I’m sure in this situation — not to justify the rhetoric or terminology that Incognito used — but I understand if this was the role that was given to him. … It’s absurd for the real world to accept this, and nobody should, but this is not the real world. This is football.”
“Incognito is at the center of a league investigation into the Dolphins, and is accused of harassing and threatening fellow offensive lineman Martin, a second-year tackle who walked away from the team last week, with voice and text messages that included racial slurs. Incognito, a nine-year veteran with a history of being kicked off teams, is a member of the Dolphins’ leadership council.
“What Incognito has done on the line since he’s been in Miami is he’s proven himself to be worthy of that role,” said Turley, 38, who like Incognito was considered among the NFL’s dirtiest players during his 10-year career.
“The coaches apparently enlisted him to be the leader of that offensive line. ‘This is your line now. We need you to get these guys in shape and together.’ The culture is to direct players. They say, ‘You’re the leader. We need you. We’re coaches; we don’t play the game. These guys need to respect you. It’s your duty.'” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday appointed Ted Wells, a senior partner of the New York law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to oversee an investigation of the Dolphins’ workplace conditions. The findings will be made public once the case is completed, the league said. Also on Wednesday, in a twist that runs counter to the notion that Incognito is the classic bully, several Miami players voiced their support for him. Continue reading “Football pros and cons”
As Secretary Duncan has noted, the Department of Education is committed to making sure that all of our young people grow up free of fear, violence, and bullying.Bullying not only threatens a student’s physical and emotional safety at school, but fosters a climate of fear and disrespect, creating conditions
that negatively impact learning—undermining students’ ability to achieve to their full potential. Unfortunately, we know that children with disabilities are disproportionately affected by bullying.
Factors such as physical vulnerability, social skills challenges, or intolerant environments may increase the risk of bullying. Students who are targets of bullying are more likely to experience lower academic achievement, higher truancy rates, feelings of alienation, poor peer relationships, loneliness, and depression. We must do everything we can to ensure that our schools are safe and positive learning environments—where all students can learn.
To that end, today, ED’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) issued guidance to educators and stakeholders on the matter of bullying of students with disabilities. This guidance provides an overview of school districts’ responsibilities to ensure that students with disabilities who are subject to bullying continue to receive free appropriate public education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Under IDEA, States and school districts are obligated to ensure that students with disabilities receive FAPE in the least restrictive environment (LRE). This guidance explains that any bullying of a student with disabilities which results in the student not receiving meaningful educational benefit is considered a denial of FAPE. Furthermore, this letter notes that certain changes to an educational program of a student with a disability (e.g., placement in a more restricted “protected” setting to avoid bullying behavior) may constitute a denial of FAPE in the LRE. Continue reading “Bullying, disability, and government”
We all are exposed to traditional and typical advertising and marketing messages every day, for everything from food to fragrances to banking to many other products and services we consume on a regular basis.
However, sometimes companies with the most powerful brands in the world take their marketing messages a step further and align them with a cause, which can be incredibly beneficial to society, reports Huffington Post Gay Voices.
“When done properly, cause marketing can change the world and help to move that cause in a positive direction, whether it is health-related, environmental, humanitarian, or social in nature.
“We are currently seeing a positive example of cause marketing by Office Depot, a leading national retailer, who has dedicated its back-to-school effort for the second consecutive year to raising awareness for anti-bullying as it specifically relates to parents, teachers, and students. The company has recently launched a campaign with worldwide music phenomenon One Direction, coinciding with their U.S. summer tour. The theme of the campaign is “1D + OD Together Against Bullying,” and has been designed to raise awareness for anti-bullying, culminating in educational programs beginning this Fall in schools across America.
“By embracing the anti-bullying cause, Office Depot is aiming to create more positive environments for three of its key consumers. First, they want to enable teachers to have more positive classroom and teaching experiences. No one can deny that teaching is a tough profession. Reducing and possibly eliminating bullying at school will take one more stress factor off of teachers’ already full plates. Continue reading “The case for cause marketing”
Nobody likes a bully — but these days the book industry loves having them to kick around.
Publishing houses are flooding the market with titles that tackle bullying, reports today’s New York Times. “The books are aimed at all age groups — from “Bully,” a picture book for elementary-grade students, to the “The Bully Book,” for middle school children, about an average kid who suddenly becomes everyone’s favorite victim, to “Sticks and Stones” by Emily Bazelon, a recent release for adults that includes both stories and analysis. According toWorldCat, a catalog of library collections worldwide, the number of English-language books tagged with the key word “bullying” in 2012 was 1,891, an increase of 500 in a decade. Continue reading “Publishing’s new love affair with bullying”
“Here in Britain we’re currently marking Anti-Bullying Week, a national campaign to get schools to work harder to make playgrounds and classrooms safe and fun places to learn and grow up,” writes Sir Ian McKellan in an editorial appearing on today’s Huffington Post. “Those of us who were bullied at school, for whatever reason, will empathise keenly with young people who dread bullies’ taunts and violence. Bullying isn’t just a ‘rite of passage’ that we should expect as part of growing up. Its effects – low exam scores, depression and anxiety – can affect our whole adult lives. It’s appropriate that this year’s Anti-Bullying Week theme is ‘we’re better without bullying’. Continue reading “Ian McKellen on bullying”
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. As a topic, bullying has received considerable media attention in recent years in its linkages to online harassment, school shootings, suicide, and even a notable candidate for political office. While bullying can be overt or subtle, it nearly always involves a power imbalance based on some kind of difference in behavior, appearance, culture, or belief. Perceived standards of the “normal” or “natural” get used to rationalize verbal, emotional, or physical abuse. In The Bully Society: School Shootings and the Crisis of Bullying in America’s Schools (New York University Press, 2012), Jessie Klein argues that these notions of normality are far more significant in bullying than individual pathology.Bullies may the active agents in causing harm, but larger groups or an entire “bully society” may be the real problem, especially when we consider that this is not just about kids. Writ large, bullying can be seen to inhabit the workplace, the political arena, and the mediascape.
Continue reading “The bully society”