Approximately a month ago, I blogged about putting a stop to bullying. I wrote about the need to implement and enforce anti-bullying policies in schools. Sadly, the recent suicide of bullied teenager, Rebecca Ann Sedwick, is a tragic reflection of how out of control and devastating bullying has become in American schools. As an advocate against injustice, I feel Rebecca’s death should be a call to action to address bullying issues and to protect our children.
Typically, cyber-bullying goes hand in hand with school bullying. Rebecca’s senseless death should serve as a wake-up call for us all. For the sake and well being of both our children and our society, we need to advocate for the rights and protection of our children whether in school or on line.
Schools need to provide a safe environment for children to learn. Teachers, parents and caregivers must be more aware of the signs that their children are being bullied. State statutes require schools and various authorities such as the school board, superintendents, principals and teachers to guard against bullying. Schools can be held responsible for negligence in providing a safe environment.
Several new anti-bullying laws took effect in July 2012 in California;
AB 9, authored by Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), requires schools to implement bullying complaint procedures and alternative discipline policies for bullying.
More recently, BILL NUMBER: SB 719 CHAPTERED BILL TEXT
(Bullying Prevention for School Safety and Crime Reduction Act of 2003)
CHAPTER 828 – FILED WITH SECRETARY OF STATE OCTOBER 11, 2003
APPROVED BY GOVERNOR OCTOBER 10, 2003
PASSED THE SENATE SEPTEMBER 11, 2003
PASSED THE ASSEMBLY SEPTEMBER 10, 2003
Article 3. School Safety Cadre
SEC. 7. Section 32290 of the Education Code is amended and renumbered to read: 32270.
(a) The partnership shall establish a statewide school safety cadre for the purpose of facilitating interagency coordination and collaboration among school districts, county offices of education, youth serving agencies, allied agencies, community-based organizations, and law enforcement agencies to improve school attendance, encourage good citizenship, and to reduce school violence, school crime, including hate crimes, vandalism, drug and alcohol abuse, gang membership and gang violence, truancy rates, bullying, teen relationship violence, and discrimination and harassment, including, but not limited to, sexual harassment.
(b) The partnership may appoint up to 100 professionals from education agencies, community-based organizations, allied agencies, and law enforcement to the statewide cadre.
(c) The partnership shall provide training to the statewide cadre representatives to enable them to initiate and maintain school community safety programs among school districts, county offices of education, youth serving agencies, allied agencies, community-based organizations, and law enforcement agencies in each region.
The Law Office of Frederick S. Schwartz is actively investigating instances of bullying, especially in the school setting. Attorney Frederick Schwartz sits on the board of directors of leading public interest law firm, Public Justice, which has launched a national anti-bullying campaign utilizing litigation designed to hold accountable adults who fail to protect children and force school districts to take appropriate steps to respond to bullying. The Law Office of Frederick S. Schwartz welcomes any inquiries on this issue or other issues of discrimination or harassment.