California Introduces Bill to Curb Bullying, Harassment in Schools

AJP

 

This is an excerpt from an article originally published in Asian Journal. Read the rest here.

 

SACRAMENTO — Legislation by Assembly member David Chiu (D-San Francisco) to prevent bullying and harassment in California schools passed the Assembly floor on Monday, August 27, on concurrence and now heads to Gov. Brown. Assembly Bill 2291 would require the California Department of Education (CDE) to establish guidelines to prevent bullying and disseminate online training modules to local educators.

 

“Our children should not be afraid to go to school,” said Assembly member Chiu. “When one student is bullied, the entire class suffers and misses out on valuable learning opportunities. We must do more to work with the Department of Education and local educators to prevent bullying before it starts.”

 

While bullying is an age-old problem, recent findings indicate that the divisive and xenophobic rhetoric plaguing our national politics has trickled down to schools. Studies have shown that the most common reason a student is bullied in the United States is related to the victim’s race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.  It is estimated that school districts in California lose out on $267 million dollars annually due to bullying-related absences.

 

 

A survey by the Council of American-Islamic Relations revealed that 55 percent of Muslim students have experienced bullying and harassment related to their religion.  The analysis also indicated that students are wary to report incidents of bullying due to a fear of retaliation and a belief that educators do not have the necessary training to intervene and prevent bullying.

 

AB 2291 will require the California Department of Education to develop guidelines to protect students before bullying begins. While CDE provides resources for students who have been bullied, but there is no requirement to provide proactive guidance to prevent bullying or cyberbullying. The bill will help educators and parents stop bullying before it happens, by equipping them with proper tools they need in the classroom and at home. AB 2291 will also build on a 2014 law, AB 1993, that instructed CDE to create online training modules to recognize the dynamics of bullying and cyberbullying.  This bill will ensure those modules are publicly available and distributed to school staff throughout the state.

 

The California Chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Advancement Project, and Equality California are sponsoring AB 2291.

 

This is an excerpt from an article originally published in Asian Journal. Read the rest here.

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