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Most Districts Lack Anti-Bullying Policies Despite State Laws, Report Says

Most Districts Lack Anti-Bullying Policies Despite State Laws, Report Says

A new report from the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network examined over 13,000 schools in the U.S. and found that most are lacking structured anti-bullying policies despite state laws requiring otherwise.

The 108-page report, titled "From Statehouse to Schoolhouse: Anti-Bullying Policy Efforts in U.S. States and School Districts," details its findings and makes recommendations for educational policy makers, leaders, and advocates.

According to the report, the research was conducted, "[f]rom September, 2008 through March, 2011, [and]... assessed the existence of anti-bullying policies in all public school districts (N=13,181) from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, identifying such policies for 9,296 (70.5%) districts." It also "compiled anti-bullying state laws, regulations, and policy guidance as of the end of 2008."

Some of it key findings were that 3 in 10 school districts were found to have no anti-bullying policy whatsoever. Of the schools that did have anti-bullying policies, only a quarter had policies in place to provide teachers with professional development training on anti-bullying policies, or only two in ten schools.

Further, "[l]ess than one-third (30.3%) stipulated accountability for incidents of bullying and harassment to the district and/or state," the report said.

In summation, the report found that only "2% of school districts were providing anti-bullying policies that included all examined elements—LGBT enumeration, professional development, and accountability."

Many of the districts lacking anti-bullying policy were found to not be in compliance with state laws requiring otherwise.

"At a minimum, districts should be implementing policies that reflect mandates and guidance set forth in state laws. However, many districts in states with anti-bullying laws did not have anti-bullying policies, and many policies did not include the elements mandated or recommended by the state," the report said.

"Thus, it appears that more need to be done to ensure that districts follow states’ anti-bullying measures and to understand the obstacles that districts face in adopting state governance and guidance."

Read the full report here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

07/17/2015

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