|88| Anti harassment bullying task force materials (combined)Document Transcript
ANTI- HARASSMENT/ BULLYING TASK FORCE December 20, 2010 September 13, 2010 MEETING AGENDA AND HANDOUTWhitted, Cleary + Takiff, LLC Brooke R. Whitted3000 Dundee Road, Suite 303 Northbrook, IL 60062 Phone: (847) 563-8662 Fax: (847) 564-8419 firstname.lastname@example.org www.wct-law.com
ANTI HARASSMENT/BULLYING TASK FORCEScheduled Meetings Compiled by: Whitted, Cleary & Takiff, LLC Brooke R. Whitted 3000 Dundee Rd, Suite 303 Northbrook, Illinois 60062 Ph. 847-564-8662 Fax 847-564-8419 www.wct-law.com Whittedlaw@aol.com 1
MEMO To: Friends From: BRW Date: 12/07/10 Re: Next Meetings Please be advised that the next Task Force meeting is Monday,December 13th from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The meeting will occursimultaneously in Springfield and Chicago at the State Board of Education V-Tel rooms in each of the State Board’s respective buildings: In Chicago: The State of Illinois Building, 14th floor, Illinois State Board of Education V-Tel room. In Springfield: The Alzina Building, 100 N. First Street, 3rd floor, V-Tel room. These meetings are public meetings and therefore governed by theOpen Meetings Act. The convener is Mr. Darren Reisberg, who is the GeneralCounsel for the Illinois State Board of Education. Minutes from the lastmeeting are available on the corresponding website maintained by the IllinoisState Board of Education, at this link:http://www.isbe.net/SBPTF/default.htm. In addition to the next meeting on December 13th, there are two morescheduled at the same locations: January 10, 2011 from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. andFebruary 14, 2011 from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. This meeting time was decided uponby the Task Force as an accommodation to the students on the Task Forcewho have to be in school. 2
ANTI HARASSMENT/ BULLYING TASK FORCETask Force Membership Compiled by: Whitted, Cleary & Takiff, LLC Brooke R. Whitted 3000 Dundee Rd, Suite 303 Northbrook, Illinois 60062 Ph. 847-564-8662 Fax 847-564-8419 www.wct-law.com Whittedlaw@aol.com 1
Task Force Membership Attached please find a document listing the members of the Anti-Harassment/Bullying Task Force created by statute. The link to the ISBE webpage, containing minutes and future meetings is athttp://www.isbe.net/SBPTF/default.htm. 2
ANTI HARASSMENT/BULLYING TASK FORCE Notes #1 Compiled by: Whitted, Cleary & Takiff, LLC Brooke R. Whitted 3000 Dundee Rd, Suite 303 Northbrook, Illinois 60062 Ph. 847-564-8662 Fax 847-564-8419 www.wct-law.com Whittedlaw@aol.com 1
Bullying Task Force Notes Brooke R. Whitted According to Sharon Hirsch, MD, Director of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry of theDepartment of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago, the limiting factor in eliminatingbullying is the lack of availability of mental health services, and services for abusedchildren. According to Dr. Hirsch, children who have been abused are more likely to turninto abusers (potential bullies) themselves and it is critical that we have interventionprograms for this. The availability of good mentors is also important, as is effective afterschool programming. According to Ken G. Papineau, Director of Coordinated School Heath/Office ofSpecial Education and Supports of the Chicago Public Schools, Task Force members shouldbecome familiar with the national, state and localized data available concerning health riskbehaviors as collected through the Youth Risk Behavior survey, a longitudinal surveyconducted every two years, and administered by the Center for Disease Control andPrevention (CDC). The public may obtain data related to the Youth Risk Behavior surveyfrom the CDC by visiting: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/yrbs/index.htm. This survey provides school districts with valuable student reported data regardingthe Nation’s Leading Health Indicators (“LHIs”), including the following measures relatedto school violence: 1. Carried a weapon on school property on at least one day; 2. Did not go to school because they felt unsafe at school or on their way to or from school on at least one day; 3. Threatened or injured with a weapon on school property one or more times; 4. In a physical fight on school property one or more times; 5. Bullied on school property. Mr. Papineau also suggests that the Illinois State Board of Education’s SchoolBullying Prevention Task Force discuss their goals and objectives with the IllinoisDepartment of Public School Health Risk Task Force, as both committees have beenestablished by the Governor’s office and may have complimentary goals and objectives. Mr.Papineau can be reached at 773/553-1830. Attached please also find an op-ed on bullying written by Dr. David Fassler.Additionally, Dr. Fassler provides an attached list of links to relevant articles on bullying. Finally, Yvonne E. Muirhead, Research Coordinator for the FBI’s Behavioral AnalysisUnit, sent contact information for Dr. Dudley Cornell at the University of Virginia, an expert 2
on whom the FBI relies in situations relative to harassment and bullying. Clearly suchcases involving the FBI concern school shootings. The document she sent is also attached. 3
ANTI HARASSMENT/ BULLYING TASK FORCE Notes #2The Finnish KiVa System Compiled by: Whitted, Cleary & Takiff, LLC Brooke R. Whitted 3000 Dundee Rd, Suite 303 Northbrook, Illinois 60062 Ph. 847-564-8662 Fax 847-564-8419 www.wct-law.com Whittedlaw@aol.com 1
The Finnish System for Harassment Prevention Brooke R. Whitted The Finnish Ministry of Education has attracted attention worldwide asa result of their well established fifty percent reduction in bullying andharassment in their school system. The program they have developed iscalled KiVA and this program concentrates on the onlookers, or bystanders,and enlisting their help to support a victim. Part of the requirement of the KiVA program is an introduction into thecurriculum of a minimum of twenty hours per year of lessons involvingdiscussion, group work, films, and hands on role playing. There is also an anti-bullying computer game and a multitude of other virtual reality materials. The KiVa system also has established some low tech but highly effectiveprocedures including extremely high visibility vests for teachers supervisingrecess activities; posters all over the school buildings; a PowerPoint forparents, and a Parent Guide including advice on how to reduce bullyingbehaviors. For acute cases, there is established a team of three teachers in eachschool. Meetings with classmates are conducted regularly to encourage themto support victims. There is a manual that gives structure to and guidesdiscussions with students and staff, and action plans are developed which areresearch based and formalized system wide to eliminate any and allatmospheres in a particular building that encourage casual violence. There is an evaluation now being done with a total number of studentsstudied of thirty thousand, two hundred and thirty-four schools, and onethousand classrooms. Preliminary evidence is as follows: 1. The average rate across all countries of bullying and harassment is thirty-three percent; 2. With regard to effectiveness studies, these include in part: A. Whitted and Duppr (2005), Children and Schools, Volume 27 (3) pages 167-175; 2
B. Smith, Cousins and Stewart, Ingredients of Effective Programs, Canadian Journal of Education, Volume 28 (4) pages 739-762; C. Smith, Peppler and Rigby, Bullying In Schools: How Successful Can Interventions Be?, New York, NY Cambridge University Press; D. Tutty, LM: Best Practices in School – Base Bullying Prevention Programs: What Works? Prevnet Volume 1, pages 144-165, Kingston, Canada Publisher, Prevnet Incorporated. Under the KiVA system, effective approaches must bemultidisciplinary; involve parents; be system wide; be across thecurriculum and seamless; utilize relationships; keep bullying issues frontand center and not just the subject of one isolated meeting. The KiVa approach also enlists the creative use of high status peers inencouraging bystanders to speak up in support of victims. In addition, it waswell established that the entire program has to be implemented and not justparts of it, and attention has to be shifted away from those who bully andsupport given to those who are victimized. 3
ANTI HARASSMENT/BULLYING TASK FORCE Notes #3 STATISTICS Compiled by: Whitted, Cleary & Takiff, LLC Brooke R. Whitted 3000 Dundee Rd, Suite 303 Northbrook, Illinois 60062 Ph. 847-564-8662 Fax 847-564-8419 www.wct-law.com Whittedlaw@aol.com 1
Bullying/Harassment Notes1. Only one-third of all incidents are reported to a teacher (page 3, REL Report).2. Gender based harassment is less likely to be repeated.3. Definition: Exposure, repeated and over time, to negative actions BRW feels this definition is somewhat limited. on the part of one or more other students.4. Underreporting hampers ability of educators to respond, but what about the dismissal of a bona fide report? Is this a problem with the definition?5. Making fun; spreading rumors; social exclusion all tend not to be reported.6. About thirty to thirty-two percent of all students are bullied in some form each year.7. Many school districts have set up an anonymous hotline reporting system to encourage more reporting. BRW note: This should be mandated in all schools.8. One question asked in research was “Was a teacher or some other adult notified about the event?” The weakness of this is that there was no inquiry about the response and then lack of adult response being a direct cause of non-reporting. BRW Note: Tracking of responses should be mandated.9. Statistics: Injury = 60% reported Threat = 55% reported Property destruction = 51% reported Pushing/shoving/tripping = 46% reported Once/twice per week = 44% reported 2
Everyday = 48% percent reported Sixth grade: 53% percent reported Twelfth grade: 27% percent reported10. There are no differences with respect to reporting across racial or gender groups.11. There is no relation, for reporting, to a student’s performance in school. 3
ISSUES &ANSWERS R E L 2010 – No. 0 92 What characteristicsAt Education Development Center, Inc. of bullying, bullying victims, and schools are associated with increased reporting of bullying to school officials?
ISSUES & ANSWERS R E L 2 010 – N o . 0 92 At Education Development Center, Inc. What characteristics of bullying, bullying victims, and schools are associated with increased reporting of bullying to school officials? August 2010 Prepared by Anthony Petrosino Learning Innovations at WestEd Sarah Guckenburg Learning Innovations at WestEd Jill DeVoe American Institutes of Research Thomas Hanson WestEd and Regional Educational Laboratory West
WA ME MT ND VT MN OR NH NY MA ID SD WI MI WY CT RI IA PA NE NV OH IL IN UT WV CA CO VA KS MO KY NC TN AZ OK NM AR SC AL GA MS LA TX AK FL At Education Development VI PR Center, Inc.Issues & Answers is an ongoing series of reports from short-term Fast Response Projects conducted by the regional educational laboratories on current education issues of importance at local, state, and regional levels. Fast Response Project topicschange to reflect new issues, as identified through lab outreach and requests for assistance from policymakers and educators at state and local levels and from communities, businesses, parents, families, and youth. All Issues & Answers reportsmeet Institute of Education Sciences standards for scientifically valid research.August 2010This report was prepared for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) under Contract ED-06-CO-0025 by Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast administered by Education Development Center, Inc. The content of the publication does notnecessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.This report is in the public domain. While permission to reprint this publication is not necessary, it should be cited as:Petrosino, A., Guckenburg, S., DeVoe, J., and Hanson, T. (2010). What characteristics of bullying, bullying victims, andschools are associated with increased reporting of bullying to school officials? (Issues & Answers Report, REL 2010–No. 092).Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluationand Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast and Islands. Retrieved from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs.This report is available on the regional educational laboratory web site at http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs.
Summary REL 2010–No. 092 What characteristics of bullying, bullying victims, and schools are associated with increased reporting of bullying to school officials? This study tested 51 characteristics of Survey School Crime Supplement, a biennial bullying victimization, bullying victims, survey of children ages 12–18 who attended and bullying victims’ schools to deter- school in the prior academic year, to examine mine which were associated with report- which of 51 characteristics of bullying victim- ing to school officials. It found that 11 ization, bullying victims, and bullying victims’ characteristics in two categories—bully- schools are associated with increased report- ing victimization and bullying victims— ing of bullying to a teacher or other adult showed a statistically significant asso- at the school. The survey data show that 36 ciation with reporting. The study also percent of bullying victims reported their vic- notes the high percentage (64 percent) of timization to a teacher or other adult at their respondents who experienced bullying school and that 64 percent of students did not. but did not report it. Eleven characteristics were found to have a Bullying appears to be frequent among U.S. statistically significant association with re- students and has been associated with several porting of bullying victimization, specifically: short- and long-term negative consequences such as depression and poor health. Research • Eight characteristics of bullying victim- suggests that many bullying incidents are ization were statistically associated with not reported to school officials, which ham- increased reporting: bullying involving pers educators’ ability to define the scope or injury, physical threats, destruction of frequency of bullying behavior in their schools property, actual physical contact (pushing, or districts, the first step in addressing the shoving, and the like), greater frequency, problem. Further, when bullying is under- multiple types, more than one location, and reported, administrators are likely to receive at least one occurrence on a school bus. an incomplete picture of bullying behaviors in their schools and of the conditions and set- Seven characteristics did not appear to be tings in which bullying occurs. associated with reporting: bullying that involved making fun of the victim or call- This study used nationally representative data ing the victim names, excluding the vic- from the 2007 National Crime Victimization tim, spreading rumors about the victim,
ii Summary and forcing the victim to do things he or The results should be interpreted as explor she did not want to do, and bullying that atory associations between the reporting of occurred in the school building, on school bullying and various student and school char grounds, or somewhere else. acteristics and not as confirmations of causal relationships. • Three characteristics of bullying victims were found to have statistically significant Regional Education Laboratory (REL) North relationships with reporting. Grade level east and Islands conducted this study of the was significantly and negatively associ conditions under which bullying victimization ated with reporting, and being involved in is reported in response to the concerns about a fight during the school year and being bullying expressed by Parent Information and afraid of attack and avoiding certain Resource Centers and other stakeholders in school areas or activities were significantly the REL Northeast and Islands Region and and positively associated with reporting. elsewhere. Victim characteristics that did not appear Further research could be undertaken to un to be associated with reporting included derstand why bullying is or is not reported and gender, race/ethnicity, household region, to learn more about the aftermath of report and academic performance. ing, including school responses to reports and whether victims who report bullying suffer • No characteristic of bullying victims’ reprisals. Such projects could require entirely schools—including general characteristics, new data collection efforts or the addition of school culture, and school security and items to existing student surveys such as the safety—was found to have a statistically National Crime Victimization Survey School significant association with reporting. Crime Supplement. August 2010
Table of conTenTs iiiTable of conTenTsWhy this study? 1 Regional relevance 2 National relevance 3 Research questions 4What the study found 6 Characteristics of bullying victimization 6 Characteristics of bullying victims 8 Characteristics of bullying victims’ schools 10 Summary of findings 15Directions for future research 15Appendix A Previous research on bullying 17Appendix B Data source and methodology 19Notes 34References 35Box1 Data source and methodology 4FiguresB1 Point-biserial correlation between the student fear of attack and avoidance of school areas and activities scale and reporting 30B2 Point-biserial correlation between the school crime and drug problem scale and reporting 30Tables1 Relationship between bullying characteristics and reporting of bullying, as indicated by students ages 12–18 during the 2007 school year 72 Relationship between sociodemographic characteristics and reporting of bullying, as indicated by students ages 12–18 during the 2007 school year 93 Relationship between student school-related experience and perception and reporting of bullying, as indicated by students ages 12–18 during the 2007 school year 114 Relationship between general school characteristics and reporting of bullying, as indicated by students ages 12–18 during the 2007 school year 125 Relationship between school culture characteristics and reporting of bullying, as indicated by students ages 12–18 during the 2007 school year 136 Relationship between school safety and security characteristics and reporting of bullying, as indicated by students ages 12–18 during the 2007 school year 147 Characteristics of bullying victimization and bullying victims that were statistically significant in analyses 15
iv Table of conTenTSB1 Bullying victimization items from the 2007 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey used, created, or recoded 20B2 Bullying victim items from the 2007 National Crime Victimization Survey and the School Crime Supplement used, created, or recoded 21B3 Schools of bullying victim items from the 2007 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey used, created, or recoded 22B4 Unused items from the 2007 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey 23B5 Survey items with less than 95 percent response rate 26B6 Relationship between bullying characteristics and reporting of bullying, as indicated by students ages 12–18 during the 2007 school year, without proxy interviews 27B7 Kuder-Richardson coefficient of reliability for the student fear of attack and avoidance of school areas and activities scale 30B8 Kuder-Richardson coefficient of reliability for the school crime and drug problem scale 31
Why ThiS STudy? 1 Why ThIs sTudy?This study tested A student is bullied when he or she is “exposed, re51 characteristics of peatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other students” (Olweus 1993,bullying victimization, p. 9). Bullying appears to be common among U.S. students and has been associated with short- andbullying victims, and long-term negative consequences such as depres sion and poor health (Rigby 2003). Broad publicbullying victims’ concerns about the problems that appear to be associated with bullying have led school officialsschools to determine and others to attempt to mitigate such activity in their institutions.which were associated Prior research suggests that many bullyingwith reporting to incidents go unreported to school officials (see appendix A for a summary of previousschool officials. research on bullying). Underreporting inevi tably hampers educators’ ability to define theIt found that 11 scope or frequency of bullying behavior in their schools or districts, the first step in addressingcharacteristics in two the problem. Further, when bullying is under- reported, administrators are likely to receive ancategories—bullying incomplete picture of bullying behaviors in their schools and of the conditions and settings invictimization and which bullying occurs.bullying victims— Learning more about reporting could assist edu cators in their decisionmaking. For example, datashowed a statistically that indicate a large percentage of unreported bul lying could lead educators to implement programssignificant association that facilitate victim and bystander reporting. Understanding more about the characteristicswith reporting. The associated with the reporting of bullying victim ization could inform schools of whether furtherstudy also notes the interventions, such as education about bullying, are needed for students and staff. For example,high percentage some students may not report “indirect bully ing”—such as being excluded or having rumors(64 percent) of spread about them (DeVoe and Kaffenberger 2005)—because they do not view it as bullyingrespondents who or because they do not believe school staff would view it as such (Unnever and Cornell 2004). Thisexperienced bullying study is a necessary step toward understanding more about the reporting of bullying to schoolbut did not report it. officials.
2 characTeriSTicS of bullying, bullying vicTimS, and SchoolS aSSociaTed WiTh reporTing of bullying Regional relevance Relating to Bullying Prevention Policies,” which requires all public and independent schools to have The implication of bullying as a factor in the written rules for students prohibiting bullying be suicides of students in the Northeast and Islands haviors, create clear policies for handling such inci Region has drawn further attention to the problem dents, and report all bullying events to the Vermont of bullying in schools (see, for example, Associated Department of Education. State education agencies Press 2009; Halligan 2005; King and Hendricks have also taken action against bullying, including 2010; Marshall 2010; Vaznis 2009). developing guides to assist schools and districts in dealing with it (see, for example, Maine Governor’s According to estimates from the states participat Children’s Cabinet 2006). ing in the Centers for Disease Control and Preven tion’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey in 2007, bullying Given the widespread nature of bullying, several affects a substantial share of the region’s stu regional stakeholders have expressed interest in dents—from 17 percent in Vermont to 22 percent conducting research on the issue to Regional Edu in Massachusetts to 29 percent in Connecticut. In cational Laboratory (REL) Northeast and Islands. addition, a recent school district survey in New Among the most vocal have been the parent infor buryport, Massachusetts, found that 9–24 percent mation and resource centers, which were funded of students in grades 5 and 6 were victims of “fre by the U.S. Department of Education beginning in quent and persistent bullying” (Hendricks 2008). A 1995 to provide parents, schools, and organizations 2007 statewide survey of elementary through high working with families with training, information, school girls in Vermont found that 17–30 percent and technical assistance to understand how chil self-reported victimization by bullies who used the dren develop and what children need to succeed in Internet, cell phones, or other electronic means school. The Parent Advocacy Coalition for Education to inflict pain or embarrassment, a phenomenon Rights Center, which serves as the national parent known as cyber-bullying (Larkin 2007). information and resource center, provides extensive resources on bullying (see www.pacer.org/bullying/). Many parent-based and other youth advocacy In addition, the parent information and resource groups have been outspoken about the need to ad center covering the Northeast and Islands Region dress bullying, and state legislatures have also taken has made bullying a priority issue through its rela considerable action in recent years. A majority of tionship with the New Jersey Bar Foundation’s bully states have passed anti-bullying laws (Associated ing prevention project and the New Jersey Coalition Press 2009), most of which mandate that schools for Bullying Awareness and Prevention.2 or districts develop conduct codes that specifi cally prohibit bullying, implement This focus on bullying in the region’s public schoolsWithin the northeast strategies for dealing with bullying, has also led to concern among educators and othersand Islands Region, and report all such incidents to that many bullying incidents are not reported toantibullying laws have the state education agency. Within school officials. Highlighting this issue, an assisbeen passed in new the Northeast and Islands Region, tant principal at a Massachusetts high school washampshire (2000), such laws have been passed in New quoted in a recent article on bullying, as stating:connecticut (2002), Hampshire (2000), ConnecticutRhode Island (2003), (2002), Rhode Island (2003), Ver- The problem for schools has always been thatVermont (2004), Maine mont (2004), Maine (2006), Puerto kids don’t report it. Students are afraid to re(2006), Puerto Rico (2008), Rico (2008), and Massachusetts port it because they’re afraid to escalate theand Massachusetts (2010) and are under consideration problem. . . . Many times, it reaches a point,(2010) and are under in New York (Vaznis 2009).1 For as it has recently, where the issue doesn’tconsideration in new york example, in Vermont in 2004 the come to light until it has gone too far (King governor signed into law “An Act and Hendricks 2010).
Why ThiS STudy? 3 Because most bullying occurs away from school the Attorney General, although the officials, they depend on victim, bystander, and shall carry out pro- relationship between parent reports for incidents to come to their atten grams to prevent the bullying and school tion (Kazdin and Rotella 2009). The Massachusetts illegal use of drugs and performance is complex, report, Direct from the Field: A Guide to Bullying violence among, and the widespread nature Prevention, also underscores the concern about promote safety and of bullying counters reporting: discipline for, students. emphasis on school [emphasis added] safety and discipline by The majority of bullying incidents hap the u.s. department of pen outside of the eyes and ears of school In addition, President education and the no personnel—on buses, on sidewalks on Barack Obama, in his child left behind act and the way home, at sporting events, and in 2009 “Back to School” may be a roadblock to bathrooms and locker rooms. Complicity speech, stated: some students’ adequate among young people not to share knowledge academic achievement of incidents of bullying with adults is com Maybe you’ll decide mon, often due to fear of retaliation (Parker- to stand up for kids Roerdon, Rudewick, and Gorton 2007, p. 6). who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you The regional parent information and resource believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe center and United We Stand, a parent advocacy environment to study and learn (The White group for disabled students, also expressed con House 2009). siderable interest in the issue. The director of the regional center stated, “This is a very important The National Safe Schools Partnership, a coalition issue for us. . . . Understand[ing] the most effective of nearly 30 education, health, and other organiza ways to encourage students to report bullying and tions promoting federal legislation to advance safe harassment rather than seeing it as ‘tattletaling’ schools, has described bullying and harassment as is critical.”3 The executive director of United We a “prevalent and profound” problem (2007, p. 1).4 Stand, who is also a member of the REL Northeast National estimates of bullying vary, but Dinkes, and Islands Governing Board, encouraged the pro Kemp, and Baum (2009) found that some 32 percent posed project and stated that the findings would of school children ages 12–18 self-reported having be of interest to her stakeholders. been bullied during the previous school year.National relevance And although the relationship between bully ing and school performance is complex (see, for Maintaining safe schools is also a priority of the example, Pepler and Craig 2008), the widespread U.S. government, as underscored by federal legis nature of bullying counters emphasis on school lation. For example, Title IV of the No Child Left safety and discipline by the U.S. Department of Behind Act specifies funding for state education Education and the No Child Left Behind Act and agencies to support school safety in the country’s may be a roadblock to some students’ adequate schools. The law (20 USC 7131, Section 4121) reads: academic achievement (Srabstein and Piazza 2008; Glew et al. 2005; Juvonen, Graham, and Schuster (a) PROGRAM AUTHORIZED.—From 2003). A wide range of stakeholders outside educa funds made available to carry out this tion have also taken up the issue, including the subpart under section 4003(2), the Secretary, American Academy of Pediatrics (Klass 2009), the in consultation with the Secretary of Health U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community and Human Services, the Director of the Oriented Policing Services (Sampson 2004), and Office of National Drug Control Policy, and the Canadian Psychological Association (2009).
4 characTeriSTicS of bullying, bullying vicTimS, and SchoolS aSSociaTed WiTh reporTing of bullying The national attention on bullying includes stakeholders’ interest in understanding under- concern about whether incidents get reported reporting of bullying, the following research ques to school officials. Many students do not report tions were addressed: that they have been bullied (Unnever and Cornell 2004), and officials are unable to take action to • What characteristics of bullying victimization address individual incidents to protect victims are associated with increased reporting of bul (Pepler and Craig 2008). Moreover, educators lying to a teacher or other adult at the school? are often unaware of the scope of the bullying problem, hindering efforts to base policies and • What characteristics of bullying victims programs on sound data (Unnever and Cornell are associated with increased reporting of 2004). Concern about reporting is evidenced by bullying to a teacher or other adult at the the number of school districts that have moved to school? an anonymous hotline reporting system, hoping that such a mechanism would remove student fear • What characteristics of bullying victims’ of reprisal and encourage more reporting (Teicher schools are associated with increased report 2006; Peterson 2009). ing of bullying to a teacher or other adult at the school?Research questions Data sources and methodology are described Based on bullying victims’ reports of whether briefly in box 1 and detailed in appendix B. The their victimization was reported to school of study was informed by a review of the current ficials and based on REL Northeast and Islands literature (see appendix A). box 1 the contiguous United States. Every on; being made to do things they did Data source and methodology other year, the survey includes the not want to do; being intentionally School Crime Supplement, which excluded from activities; and having To respond to the research questions, covers all students ages 12–18 who property intentionally destroyed. secondary analysis of data from the attended at least some school in the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau prior academic year. The 2007 survey To identify whether bullied students’ of Justice Statistics’ 2007 National invited 11,161 people ages 12–18 to victimization was reported to a Crime Victimization Survey School participate; 6,503 of them completed teacher or other adult at the school, Crime Supplement was conducted. the survey, and 5,621 met the screen students were asked, “Was a teacher Hagan (1993, p. 215) defines second ing criteria and thus comprise the or some other adult at the school ary analysis as the “re-analysis of data set used to conduct the second notified about (this event/any of data that were previously gathered for ary analysis. these events)?” The question does not other purposes.” indicate who reported the bullying Identifying reported and unreported victimization. Data source. The National Crime bullying. Students were considered Victimization Survey is a nationally bullied if they responded affirma Handling survey nonresponse and representative survey administered tively to having been bullied in one complex survey sampling. Two is annually by the U.S. Census Bureau or more of the following ways: being sues with sample construction were on behalf of the Bureau of Justice made fun of; being the subject of taken into account. First, not all Statistics to persons ages 12 and rumors; being threatened with harm; students eligible to respond to the older in selected households across being pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit survey participated, which could bias (conTinued)
Why ThiS STudy? 5box 1 (conTinued)Data source and methodologyresults if those who responded differ enforced; perceptions of how teachers indicate directionality (Welkowitz,substantively from those who did not. treat students; a scale of school crime Ewen, and Cohen 1982).According to the U.S. Department and drug problems; and perceptionsof Justice (2007), nonparticipating of school safety. Tables B1–B4 in The initial threshold to determinestudents are more likely to come appendix B provide a complete list of statistical significance was p = .05from racial/ethnic minority, urban, the items that were selected, recoded, (two-tailed). But because of the numand lower income households, so the or created for the analysis. ber of significance tests conducted,data are weighted accordingly (see there is an increased likelihood ofappendix B). Second, the survey uses A few selected items from the house some results being statistically siga stratified, multistage cluster sample hold portion of the larger National nificant due to chance. A Bonferronidesign. To avoid biased estimates Crime Victimization Survey, such as multiple comparison procedure wasin the analysis, this complex sam household income and region, were calculated to adjust for the number ofpling design required using sample also included. significance tests (Bland and Altmanweights, sampling units (clusters), 1995). These adjusted statistical sigand sampling strata to adjust for clus Conducting statistical analyses. nificance levels were used to identifytering and stratification to compute Descriptive analysis was conducted statistically significant associations.valid standard errors. to respond to the research ques tions, focusing on comparisons Limitations. All the data analysis isSelecting items for analysis. Of the between reported and unreported descriptive and does not allow for140 items in the National Crime bullying according to victim self- causal interpretation. No conclusionsVictimization Survey School Crime reports. Cross-tabulations (usually about the effectiveness of school poliSupplement, 51 in three domains 2×2 tables) analyzed the presence cies and strategies on the reporting of(bullying victimization, bullying or absence of a characteristic with bullying can be reached. The Nationalvictim, and bullying victims’ schools) reporting or nonreporting. Dif Crime Victimization Survey Schoolwere included in this study. The bul ferences between reporters and Crime Supplement presents data onlying victimization domain included nonreporters were tested using a wide range of school crime, safety,15 items, such as whether injury to Pearson’s chi-square because the and discipline issues; it is not focusedthe victim occurred, types of bullying variables were categorical. Since specifically on bullying. It containsinvolved (direct or indirect), bullying chi-square analysis does not indicate only one item on whether the bullyseverity and frequency, and the loca the direction of the relationship ing experienced was reported to antions in which it occurred. The bully between variables, correlations were adult, and that item is not linked toing victim domain included 14 items, calculated for statistically signifi any specific bullying incident or timesuch as sociodemographic character cant items to determine whether a sequence. The survey also relies onistics, grade level, household region, variable was associated with an respondents to self-determine theircurrent academic performance, increase or decrease in reporting. condition as a victim of bullyingwhether the student has an adult at Point-biserial (rpbi) correlations were using their own interpretation andschool who cares about him or her, used to indicate directionality for conceptions of bullying. Differentand a scale on how fearful the student the two scales (student fear of being respondents might not label similaris of being attacked. The bullying attacked and school crime and drug situations as bullying. And somevictims’ schools domain included problems) and other continuous students may be reluctant to tell an22 items, such as whether the school variables. For statistically significant interviewer about being bullied, sowas public or private; perceptions of dichotomous variables, tetrachoric some victims may not be included inthe school’s rules and how they are correlations (rho) are reported to these analyses.
6 characTeriSTicS of bullying, bullying vicTimS, and SchoolS aSSociaTed WiTh reporTing of bullying WhaT The sTudy found bullying captured by the National Crime Victim ization Survey School Crime Supplement. The Findings are organized into three sections categories are not mutually exclusive, as bullying (characteristics of bullying victimization, charac victimization over the year may include several teristics of bullying victims, and characteristics types. The reporting item is not linked to any of bullying victims’ schools) to respond directly specific incident or point in time, so these data to the three research questions. The survey data represent reporting of bullying that involves, at the show that 36 percent of bullying victims reported very least, that particular type. their victimization to a teacher or other adult at their school and that 64 percent of students did The severity of victimization showed a statistically not. significant and positive association with report ing, meaning that the presence of this type of Characteristics of bullying victimization bullying was associated with increased reporting (tetrachoric rho = .33, p < .001). When bullying This section presents the analysis of the relation resulted in physical injury, 60.5 percent of bully ship between characteristics of bullying victimiza ing victims indicated that their victimization was tion and reporting. The bullying characteristics reported. Bullying that involved a physical threat included in the analysis were: was reported 55.3 percent of the time, bullying that involved destroyed property was reported 51.3 per • Whether the bullying caused injury to the cent of the time, and bullying that involved being victim. physically touched (pushed, shoved, or tripped) was reported 46.0 percent of the time. Such direct • The type of bullying that occurred (threats, types of bullying (DeVoe and Kaffenberger 2005) destroyed property, physical violence, victim also showed a statistically significant and positive being made fun of or called names, victim association with reporting, meaning that the pres being excluded, victim having rumors spread ence of each of these types of bullying was associ about him or her, and victim being made to ated with increased reporting (tetrachoric rho = .35 do things he or she did not want to do). for threats, .23 for destroyed property, and .25 for being pushed, shoved, or tripped). • How many types of bullying the victim experienced. The number of types of bullying experienced and reporting showed a statistically significant and pos • The frequency of the bullying. itive relationship, meaning that a higher number of types of bullying experienced was associated with • The location where the bullying occurred increased reporting (rpbi = .20, p < .001). Reporting (school building, outside school grounds, rates ranged from 25.7 percent for students who school bus, and somewhere else). indicated that they were victims of one type of bullying to 59.4 percent for students who indicated • The number of different locations where the that they were victims of six types of bullying. bullying took place.eight characteristics of The relationship between bullying frequency andbullying victimization Eight characteristics showed a reporting was also statistically significant andshowed a statistically statistically significant relation positive, meaning that increased frequency ofsignificant relationship ship with reporting; seven did not. bullying was associated with increased reportingwith reporting; Table 1 provides data on overall (rpbi =.19, p < .001). For example, 44.9 percent ofseven did not reporting of bullying and on victims who were bullied once or twice a week said reporting across the six types of the bullying was reported to school officials, and
WhaT The STudy found 7Table 1Relationship between bullying characteristics and reporting of bullying, as indicated by students ages 12–18during the 2007 school year Students Students whose whose bullying was bullying was chance number of reported not reported Standard chi-square probability characteristic observations (percent) (percent) error value of result victim of bullying victim of bullying 1,778 35.8 64.2 — — — physical injury to victim yes 119 60.5 39.5 5.19 32.8* <.001 no 1,657 34.2 65.8 1.26 Type of bullying Threatened 323 55.3 44.7 2.93 64.93* <.001 destroyed property 231 51.3 48.7 3.54 27.97* <.001 pushed, shoved, tripped, and the like 626 46.0 54.0 2.09 41.80* <.001 made fun of, called names 1,180 38.2 61.8 1.42 7.43 .008 excluded 301 37.7 62.3 2.93 .514 .522 Spread rumors 1,010 37.5 62.5 1.55 2.22 .173 victim made to do things he or she did not want to do 232 37.3 62.7 3.19 .22 .641 number of types of bullying experienced one 714 25.7 74.3 1.73 Two 487 37.9 62.1 2.32 Three 286 44.6 55.4 3.17 four 163 45.5 54.5 3.71 68.42* <.001 five 80 53.8 46.2 5.33 Six 31 59.4 40.6 8.61 Seven 17 50.3 49.7 12.16 frequency of bullying during academic year once or twice this school year 1,060 32.6 67.4 1.66 once or twice a month 352 39.7 60.3 2.33 20.58* <.001 once or twice a week 170 44.9 55.1 3.47 almost every day 112 48.5 51.5 4.70 location where bullying occurred School building 1,401 36.7 63.3 1.37 1.74 .187 outside on school grounds 407 38.6 61.4 2.52 1.63 .216 School bus 146 47.8 52.2 4.19 9.48* .002 Somewhere else 70 26.7 73.3 5.31 2.67 .098 number of different locations bullying occurred one 1,558 34.8 65.3 1.25 11.88* .001 Two or more 202 47.1 52.9 3.73— is not applicable.* Difference between characteristic of bullying victimization and reporting is statistically significant, p < .0033.Source: Authors’ analysis based on U.S. Department of Justice 2007.
8 characTeriSTicS of bullying, bullying vicTimS, and SchoolS aSSociaTed WiTh reporTing of bullyingone sociodemographic 48.5 percent of victims who were Reporting by grade level ranges from 52.9 percentcharacteristic of bullied almost every day said the for students in grade 6 to 27.0 percent for studentsbullying victims bullying was reported to school in grade 12. The relationship between grade levelshowed a statistically officials. and reporting of bullying is statistically significantsignificant correlation and negative, meaning that higher grade levels arewith reporting; four The relationship between location associated with less reporting (rpbi = –.18, p < .001).did not. Two school - and reporting was also statisticallyrelated experience significant. Bullying victimization Male and female bullying victims did not differand perception that included at least one occur- in the prevalence of reporting (table 2)—that is,characteristics showed rence on a school bus (tetrachoric the percentage of girls who indicated that theira statistically significant rho = .18, p =.002) or occurred bullying victimization was reported to a teacherrelationship with in multiple locations (rpbi = .08, or other adult at the school did not statisticallyreporting; seven did not p =.001) was associated with differ from the percentage of boys who indicated increased reporting. that their victimization was reported. Moreover, reporting did not statistically differ across racial/ Bullying that involved the victim being made fun ethnic groups. of or called names, the victim being excluded, the victim having rumors spread about him or her, The region of the country (as defined by the or the victim being made to do things that he or Census Bureau) where the student’s household is she did not want to do were not associated with located did not affect reporting. Students from increased reporting. households in the Northeast and students from all other regions indicated that similar percentages Characteristics of bullying victims of bullying victimization were reported to school officials (35.7 percent compared with 36.0 percent). This section presents the analysis of the relation ship between characteristics of bullying victims No statistically significant association was found and reporting. Two types of victim characteristics between household income and reporting. This were included: sociodemographic characteris is one of the few variables in the data set used in tics and student school-related experiences and the analyses that had an item response rate lower perceptions. than 95 percent (see table B1 in appendix B), so the results for household income should be interpreted Sociodemographic characteristics. Victim socio with caution. demographic characteristics included in the analy sis were: School-related experiences and perceptions. Stu dent school-related experiences and perceptions • Gender. included in the analysis were: • Race/ethnicity. • Victim’s academic performance. • Grade level. • Whether the victim skipped classes during the academic year. • Household region. • Whether the victim has an adult at school • Household income. who cares about him or her. One characteristic showed a statistically signifi • Whether the victim’s school has an adult who cant correlation with reporting; four did not. helps him or her with problems.
WhaT The STudy found 9Table 2Relationship between sociodemographic characteristics and reporting of bullying, as indicated by studentsages 12–18 during the 2007 school year Students Students whose whose bullying was bullying was chance number of reported not reported Standard chi-square probability characteristic observations (percent) (percent) error value of result gender male 874 34.5 65.5 1.66 1.57 .213 female 904 37.3 62.7 1.66 race/ethnicity non-hispanic White 1,193 33.1 66.9 1.35 non-hispanic black 221 44.4 55.7 3.34 13.49 .015 non-hispanic other 101 37.2 62.8 5.63 hispanic 263 39.4 60.6 3.56 current grade 6 221 52.9 47.1 3.32 7 311 45.9 54.1 2.92 8 322 36.5 63.6 2.93 9 291 27.3 72.7 2.86 66.18* <.001 10 246 27.9 72.1 3.05 11 238 30.6 69.4 3.49 12 149 27.0 73.0 3.86 region where student household located northeast 267 35.7 64.3 3.41 .009 .939 all other 1,511 36.0 64.0 1.28 household income less than $7,500 47 45.3 54.7 7.26 $7,500–$15,000 53 54.5 45.5 6.28 $15,001–$25,000 124 39.3 60.7 4.39 18.08 .005 $25,001–$35,000 152 32.4 67.5 4.14 $35,001–$50,000 258 38.1 61.9 3.21 $50,001 or more 792 31.7 68.3 1.72* Difference between the characteristic of bullying victims and reporting is statistically significant, p < .0033.Source: Authors’ analysis based on U.S. Department of Justice 2007. • Whether the victim has a friend at school to • Whether the victim brought a weapon to talk to. school. • Whether the victim has a friend at school who • How much the victim fears attack and avoids helps him or her with problems. school areas or activities. • Whether the victim was involved in a fight Two characteristics showed a statistically signifi during the school year. cant relationship with reporting; seven did not.
10 characTeriSTicS of bullying, bullying vicTimS, and SchoolS aSSociaTed WiTh reporTing of bullying It is not possible to determine whether fights that Because of the research design of the Student a victim was involved in were related to bullying Crime Supplement, it is not possible to determine incidents, based on the National Crime Victimiza whether skipping classes was a direct result of tion Survey Student Crime Supplement data set. But having been bullied, but no statistical relationship student-reported fighting behavior was significantly was found between student responses to this item and positively associated with the reporting of bul and reporting. lying behavior, meaning that having been involved in a fight was associated with increased reporting The National Crime Victimization Survey Student (tetrachoric rho = .30, p < .001). Specifically, 54.1 Crime Supplement asks students to indicate how percent of students who responded that they were in strongly they agree or disagree with four statements: volved in fighting behavior during the past academic they have an adult at the school who cares about year indicated that their bullying victimization was them, their school has an adult that helps them with reported, compared with 32.8 percent of students problems, they have a friend at school they can talk who responded that they had no involvement in to, and they have a friend at the school who helps fighting during the past academic year. (table 3). them with their problems. Students were asked to in dicate whether they strongly agree, agree, disagree, To measure whether the victim fears attack or avoids or strongly disagree with each statement. A substan school areas or activities, a student fear of attack tial majority of students agreed or strongly agreed and avoidance of school areas or activities scale was with all four statements. None of the items met the created, comprising 14 items. Students were asked threshold for statistical significance. three items about their fear at school, their fear on the way to or from school, and their fear about being Students were also asked whether they had ever attacked or harmed outside of school. For these three brought a gun, knife, or other weapon to school. items, students indicated whether they were never The association between weapon carrying and afraid, almost never afraid, sometimes afraid, or reporting was not statistically significant. afraid most of the time. “Never afraid” and “almost never afraid” responses counted for 0 points on the Characteristics of bullying victims’ schools scale, and “sometimes afraid” and “afraid most of the time” responses counted for 1 point on the scale. This section presents the analysis of the relation Students were then asked 11 items about whether ship between characteristics of bullying victims’ they avoided school, certain activities at school, or schools and reporting. Three types of variables certain locations in the school because of their fear were included: general school characteristics, of attack. Each location or activity that a student school culture characteristics, and school safety avoided because of fear of attack counted for 1 point and security measures on the scale. The relationship between the scale and reporting was statistically significant and positive, General school characteristics. The general school meaning that a higher score on the scale was associ characteristics included in the analysis were: ated with increased reporting (rpbi = .12). • Whether school is public or private. Academic performance wasnone of the measured based on average course • Whether the school is church-related.characteristics of grades. Higher grades (A’s, B’s, andbullying victims’ schools C’s) were combined and compared Most students in the sample attended publicshowed a statistically with lower grades (D’s and F’s). schools. Some 36.4 percent of bullying victims atsignificant relationship There was no relationship between tending public schools indicated that their victimwith reporting students’ self-reported academic ization was reported to school officials, 30.3 percent grades and reporting. of students attending private schools indicated that
WhaT The STudy found 11Table 3Relationship between student school-related experience and perception and reporting of bullying, asindicated by students ages 12–18 during the 2007 school year Students Students whose whose bullying was bullying was chance number of reported not reported Standard chi-square probability experience or perception observations (percent) (percent) error value of result academic performance mostly a’s, b’s, and c’s 1,652 35.6 64.5 1.23 1.05 .326 mostly d’s and f’s 105 40.5 59.5 1.23 Skipped classes during academic year yes 164 27.4 72.6 3.93 5.60 .038 no 1,588 36.8 63.2 1.30 adult at school who cares about me Strongly agree or agree 1,599 36.5 64.5 1.26 2.35 .120 Strongly disagree or disagree 175 30.6 69.4 3.52 School has adult who helps with problems Strongly agree or agree 1,588 36.3 63.7 1.32 1.55 .233 Strongly disagree or disagree 182 31.6 68.4 3.55 have friend at school to talk to Strongly agree or agree 1,690 35.3 64.7 1.19 6.57 .025 Strongly disagree or disagree 87 48.8 51.2 6.24 have friend at school who helps with problems Strongly agree or agree 1,648 34.9 65.1 1.22 8.90 .008 Strongly disagree or disagree 128 48.1 51.9 4.94 involved in a fight yes 258 54.1 45.9 3.56 43.1* <.001 no 1,519 32.8 67.2 1.29 brought a weapon to school no 1,709 36.2 63.8 1.22 .392 .531 yes 65 32.3 67.7 5.87 Student fear of attack and avoidance of school areas or activities scale score 0–2 21 43.4 56.6 11.08 3–5 1,636 34.3 65.7 1.233 29.5* <.001 6–8 95 53.7 46.3 9.99 9 or higher 20 36.0 64.0 1.2.1* Difference between characteristic of bullying victims and reporting is statistically significant, p < .0033.Source: Authors’ anyalsis based on U.S. Department of Justice 2007. their victimization was reported, and 29.2 percent School culture characteristics. The school culture of students attending church-related schools indi characteristics measured how much students cated that their victimization was reported (table agreed or disagreed (strongly agree, agree, dis 4). The relationship between type of school and agree, or strongly disagree) with eight statements reporting was not statistically significant. about their school:
12 characTeriSTicS of bullying, bullying vicTimS, and SchoolS aSSociaTed WiTh reporTing of bullying Table 4 Relationship between general school characteristics and reporting of bullying, as indicated by students ages 12–18 during the 2007 school year Students Students whose whose bullying was bullying was chance number of reported not reported Standard chi-square probability characteristic observations (percent) (percent) error value of result School type public 1,639 36.4 63.6 1.25 2.10 .161 private 139 30.3 69.7 4.03 church-related school yes 105 29.2 70.8 4.74 2.27 .167 no 1,673 36.4 63.6 1.26 Source: Authors’ analysis based on U.S. Department of Justice 2007. • Everyone knows school rules. disagree” responses were collapsed into one category, “never” and “almost never” responses were collapsed • Students receive the same punishment for into one category, and “sometimes” and “most of the breaking the same rules. time” responses were collapsed into one category. • Students know the punishments. There was no statistically significant association between whether bullying victims agree or disagree • School rules are fair. with any of the statements and reporting, nor was there one between students’ opinions of how often • School rules are strictly enforced. they were distracted by other students misbehaving in the classroom and reporting or between students’ • Teachers care about students. opinions of how often teachers punished students for misbehaving in class and reporting (table 5). • Teachers treat students with respect. School safety and security measures. The school • Teachers make students feel bad. safety and security characteristics included in the analysis were: The school culture characteristics also measured students’ opinions of how often (never, almost • Whether the school has security guards. never, sometimes, or most of the time) two actions related to classroom misbehavior occur: • Whether the school has staff or adults moni toring the hallway. • Student is distracted by students misbehaving in class. • Whether the school has metal detectors. • Teachers punish students for misbehaving in • Whether the school has locked doors. class. • Whether the school has a visitor sign-in policy. “Strongly agree” and “agree” responses were col lapsed into one category, “disagree” and “strongly • Whether the school conducts locker checks.
WhaT The STudy found 13Table 5Relationship between school culture characteristics and reporting of bullying, as indicated by students ages12–18 during the 2007 school year Students Students whose whose bullying was bullying was chance number of reported not reported Standard chi-square probability characteristic observations (percent) (percent) error value of result everyone knows school rules Strongly agree or agree 1,535 35.2 64.8 1.30 2.58 .161 disagree or strongly disagree 242 40.6 59.4 3.63 Students receive the same punishment for breaking the same rules Strongly agree or agree 1,314 35.9 64.1 1.39 .004 .957 disagree or strongly disagree 458 35.7 64.3 2.64 Students know the punishments Strongly agree or agree 1,410 36.7 63.4 1.34 1.54 .220 disagree or strongly disagree 362 33.1 66.9 2.56 School rules are fair Strongly agree or agree 1,439 35.1 65.0 1.37 2.58 .126 disagree or strongly disagree 333 39.7 60.3 2.73 School rules are strictly enforced Strongly agree or agree 1,392 36.6 63.4 1.39 .987 .319 disagree or strongly disagree 381 33.9 66.1 2.37 Teachers care about students Strongly agree or agree 1,622 35.8 64.2 1.28 .242 .582 disagree or strongly disagree 154 37.8 62.2 3.42 Teachers treat students with respect Strongly agree or agree 1,508 35.0 65.0 1.31 4.26 .042 disagree or strongly disagree 266 41.5 58.5 3.03 Teachers make students feel bad Strongly agree or agree 477 36.5 63.5 2.09 .090 .743 disagree or strongly disagree 1,297 35.7 64.3 1.33 how often distracted by students misbehaving in class never or almost never 448 30.9 69.1 2.65 6.88 .031 Sometimes or most of the time 1,327 37.7 62.3 1.39 how often teachers punish students for misbehaving in class never or almost never 491 31.0 69.0 2.47 7.27 .024 Sometimes or most of the time 1,281 37.8 62.2 1.44Source: Authors’ analysis based on U.S. Department of Justice 2007. • Whether the school has safety badges. Analysis was conducted for students that re sponded “yes” or “no” to each item. Although • Whether the school has security cameras. “don’t know” was a valid response option, it was excluded. Several items thus have response rates • Whether the school has a student code of conduct. below 95 percent (see table B5 in appendix B).
14 characTeriSTicS of bullying, bullying vicTimS, and SchoolS aSSociaTed WiTh reporTing of bullying Table 6 Relationship between school safety and security characteristics and reporting of bullying, as indicated by students ages 12–18 during the 2007 school year Students Students whose whose bullying was bullying was chance number of reported not reported Standard chi-square probability characteristic observations (percent) (percent) error value of result School has security guards yes 1,174 34.3 65.7 1.46 3.86 .056 no 586 39.1 60.9 2.14 School has staff or adults monitoring the hallway yes 1,571 35.9 64.1 1.31 .046 .848 no 196 36.7 63.4 3.82 School has metal detectors yes 133 35.1 65.0 3.74 .060 .797 no 1,568 36.1 63.9 1.30 School has locked doors yes 1,058 36.4 63.6 1.61 .027 .866 no 628 36.8 63.2 1.23 School has visitor sign-in policy yes 1,679 36.1 63.9 1.27 1.30 .314 no 69 42.9 57.1 1.24 School has locker checks yes 1,006 34.4 65.6 1.6 3.15 .075 no 665 38.7 61.3 1.90 School has safety badges yes 378 38.5 61.5 2.50 1.48 .242 no 1,397 35.2 64.9 1.39 School has security cameras yes 1,220 35.0 65.0 1.52 1.00 .327 no 377 37.9 62.1 1.36 School has a student code of conduct yes 1,727 35.7 64.3 1.26 .798 .379 no 37 42.9 57.1 8.14 School crime and drug problem scale score 0 249 43.3 56.7 3.47 1 240 38.2 61.8 3.52 2 128 40.7 59.3 4.25 7.17 .293 3 104 37.1 62.9 5.59 4 75 35.8 64.2 5.80 5 or higher 362 33.1 66.9 2.62 Source: Authors’ analysis based on U.S. Department of Justice 2007.
direc TionS for fuTure reSearch 15 The school safety and security characteristics statistically significant future projects could also include a measure of students’ perception (meeting the conser examine the aftermath of crime and drug problems at their school. The vative statistical sig of reporting for bullying school crime and drug problem scale comprises nificance levels set by the victims or explore why 13 items: whether the student knew other students Bonferroni procedure to such a high percentage who brought a loaded gun to school, whether he counter the problem of of bullying victimization or she had seen another student with a loaded gun conducting multiple sta is not reported at school, whether he or she could have gotten a tistical significance tests) loaded gun at school, whether gangs were at the association with the school, whether gangs were involved in selling reporting of bullying, including eight bullying drugs at school, whether gangs at school were victimization characteristics and three student involved in fights and violence, whether he or she victim characteristics. None of the characteris had seen hate-related words and symbols at school, tics of bullying victims’ schools were found to whether he or she was offered drugs or alcohol have a statistically significant association with during the academic year, whether he or she knew reporting. other students on drugs or alcohol, whether it was possible to get alcohol at school, whether it was possible to get marijuana at school, whether it was dIRecTIons foR fuTuRe ReseaRch possible to get prescription drugs at school, and whether it was possible to get crack, cocaine or This study focused on the characteristics as other drugs at school. Each “yes” response counted sociated with the reporting of bullying to school for 1 point on the scale. officials. The survey data show that 35.8 percent of bullying victims indicated that their victimization None of the school safety and security measures was reported to a teacher or other adult at their showed a statistically significant relationship with school and that 64.2 percent of students did not. reporting (table 6). Future projects could examine the aftermath of re porting for bullying victims. Such a project couldSummary of findings also explore why such a high percentage of bully ing victimization is not reported (for example, fear Table 7 summarizes the findings, present of retaliation by bullies or belief that the school ing the 11 of 51 characteristics found to have a cannot help). Table 7 characteristics of bullying victimization and bullying victims that were statistically significant in analyses characteristics of bullying victimization characteristics of bullying victims physical injury to victim (+) current grade (–) Threatened (+) involved in a fight (+) destroyed property (+) Student fear of attack and avoidance of school areas and pushed, shoved, tripped, and the like (+) activities (+) number of types of bullying experienced (+) frequency of bullying during academic year (+) bullying occurred on school bus (+) bullying occurred at more than one location (+) + indicates a positive relationship, meaning that the variable (or an increase in the variable’s value, for discrete variables) leads to an increase in reporting. – indicates a negative relationship, meaning that the variable (or an increase in the variable’s value, for discrete variables) leads to a decrease in reporting. Note: None of the characteristics of bullying victims’ schools were found to have a statistically significant association with reporting. Source: Authors’ analysis based on U.S. Department of Justice 2007.
16 characTeriSTicS of bullying, bullying vicTimS, and SchoolS aSSociaTed WiTh reporTing of bullying Items could also be added to the National Crime not reporting to school officials would also be Victimization Survey School Crime Supplement useful, as would items that ask students whether or other national surveys (such as the Youth they witnessed bullying and what they did about Risk Behavior Surveillance System) to probe it. These data could improve the research evi deeper into what happens following the report dence relevant to bystander behavior and school ing of bullying to school officials. For example, bullying. what did the school do in response? Did the victim suffer reprisals? Items that distinguish The 2009 National Crime Victimization Survey who actually reported the bullying to a school School Crime Supplement data should be available official (the victim, bystander, or parent), that in 2011. Repeating the analysis of bullying, victim, identify whether students told their parents and and school characteristics with the 2009 data what the parental response was, and that list the would provide information about how the findings reasons bullying victims have for reporting or replicate or change over time.
appendix a. previouS reSearch on bullying 17aPPendIx a (Srabstein and Piazza 2008; Fekkes, Pijpers, andPReVIous ReseaRch on bullyIng Verloove-Vanhorick 2004). Retrospective interview and questionnaire studies suggest that bullying Agreement on how to define bullying is elusive contributes to victims’ difficulties with physical (Griffin and Gross 2004). Olweus (1993, p .9) and psychological health, even into adulthood defines bullying as being “exposed, repeatedly and (Fosse and Holen 2002). These effects are more over time, to negative actions on the part of one strongly substantiated in longitudinal studies that or more other students,” a definition adopted by have reported bullying as a significant factor in DeVoe and Kaffenberger in their National Cen students’ negative health and well-being and sug ter for Education Statistics report (2005, p. v). In gest that the consequences of bullying can be long another National Center for Education Statistics term (Sourander et al. 2000). Longitudinal studies document, Dinkes, Kemp, and Baum (2009, p. 40) also identify that being a bully is a predictor of later state that bullying includes “being made fun of; involvement in antisocial and criminal behavior being the subject of rumors; being threatened with (Sourander et al. 2007). As mentioned, the rela harm; being pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on; tionship between bullying and academic achieve being pressured into doing things did not want ment is complex, but some studies report negative to do; [being] excluded; and having property academic performance for both victims and bullies destroyed on purpose.” (Olweus 1993; Farrington and Ttofi 2009). National estimates of bullying vary. Some 16 Some studies have also suggested a link between percent of students participating in a National bullying victimization and suicide and homicide. Institute of Child Health and Development survey One study found that boys and girls who are in 1998 stated that they had been bullied in their bullied are four to eight times more likely to kill current school term (National Institutes of Health themselves than are nonvictims (Fox et al. 2003). 2001). The 2008 Indicators of School Crime and Moreover, the Secret Service documented bullying Safety Report (Dinkes, Kemp, and Baum 2009), victimization in the backgrounds of approximately however, estimates that 32 percent of children two-thirds of attempted or completed school nationwide were victims of bullying in 2007, and shooting attackers (Vossekull et al. 2002). Lawsuits that 24 percent of public schools reported that have been brought against schools and districts student bullying was a daily or weekly problem for not doing enough to keep bullied children safe during the 2005/06 school year. A 2003 national (Dawson 2006; Martindale 2009). survey of parents indicated that 35 percent were worried about their child being bullied and 24 Though once considered by many adults as a percent reported that their own child bullies or normal adolescent rite of passage (Garbarino and is cruel to other children (Sidorowicz, Hair, and DeLara 2003), the potential short- and long-term Milot 2009). In a Kaiser Family Foundation (2001) consequences of bullying have raised concern survey of more than 800 students, bullying, teas among administrators, teachers, parents, pe ing, and “put downs” were rated together as the diatricians, police, and others (National Crime number one problem in school (Boorstein 2004; Prevention Council 2008; National Safe Schools CNN 2001). Partnership 2007). Such concern includes the aforementioned legislation in at least 44 states Research suggests a number of potential negative mandating that schools track incidents of bullying consequences of bullying. Rigby’s (2003) review and take measures to address it (Associated Press of this work summarizes the harms by type of 2009). research. For example, in cross-sectional sur veys, victims of bullying report higher levels of One major problem for concerned adults, however, depression and poor health than do nonvictims is that bullying often goes unreported to teachers
18 characTeriSTicS of bullying, bullying vicTimS, and SchoolS aSSociaTed WiTh reporTing of bullying or other school officials. Only 35.8 percent of bul Oliver and Candappa (2007) found that students lied students in the 2007 National Crime Victim are reluctant to tell adults about bullying and that ization Survey School Crime Supplement indicated this reluctance increases with age. that their bullying victimization was reported to school officials (Dinkes, Kemp, and Baum 2009). Little research on the reporting of bullying to In a survey of more than 2,000 Dutch elementary school officials is available to guide stakeholders in school students, 16 percent reported having been the Northeast and Islands Region and elsewhere, bullied during a six month period; 53 percent of particularly research conducted in the United these victims reported the bullying to their teacher States. REL Northeast and Islands researchers and 67 percent to parents (Fekkes, Pijpers, and found one study that examined the differences Verloove-Vanhorick 2005). A survey administered between reported and nonreported incidents. by the Oklahoma Department of Health reported Unnever and Cornell (2004) surveyed six middle that 67 percent of students in grade 3, 47 percent schools (grades 6–8) in Roanoke, Virginia. Of the of students in grade 5, and 20 percent of students 2,437 students who participated, 898 (37 percent) in grade 7 who were bullied told an adult at the were identified as bullying victims. Of the bul school (Middleton 2008). lying victims, 25 percent did not report their victimization to anyone and 40 percent did not Reporting is an important precursor to school report it to an adult. Unnever and Cornell (2004) response to bullying. Kazdin and Rotella (2009) then analyzed which factors influenced victim note that teachers observe only the most flagrant reporting and found that victims who were bullied and frequent bullying, and estimate that teacher more frequently and by a larger number of bullies, observation occurs in only about 4 percent of who were female, who perceived that their school incidents. Along with victim reluctance, bystand would not tolerate bullying, and who were from ers who witness bullying also tend not to report it, the lower grade levels were more likely to report. even though 85 percent of incidents occur in front To better inform education decisionmakers in the of others, usually peers (Kazdin and Rotella 2009). region and elsewhere, further studies like this are needed. This REL Northeast and Islands project Underreporting of bullying makes it difficult for expands on the Roanoke study to empirically school officials, parents, and other concerned study differences between reported and nonre adults to learn about and deal effectively with vic ported bullying victimization, using a nationally timization (Education Development Center 2008). representative data set.
appendix b. daTa Source and meThodology 19aPPendIx b copy of the survey instrument can be found indaTa souRce and MeThodology the supplement’s codebook (U.S. Department of Justice 2009). This appendix provides more detail on the data source and methodology used for this study. To The 2007 National Crime Victimization Survey respond to the research questions, secondary is the best available source of data to examine analysis of data from the U.S. Department of reporting of bullying. Other possible data sources Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics’ 2007 National do not include enough information on bullying to Crime Victimization Survey School Crime Supple adequately respond to the research questions. For ment was conducted. Hagan (1993, p. 215) defines example, each state in the Northeast and Islands secondary analysis as the “re-analysis of data that Region participates in the Youth Risk Behavior were previously gathered for other purposes.” Surveillance program overseen by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But its coreData source survey instrument did not include any items about bullying until 2009. States are free to add their The National Crime Victimization Survey is a own additional items, and three states in the re nationally representative survey administered an gion have added two items on bullying (“Have you nually by the U.S. Census Bureau on behalf of the been bullied in the past six months?” and “Have Bureau of Justice Statistics to persons ages 12 and you bullied someone in the past six months?”). older in selected households across the contiguous But no items about reporting bullying to school United States. The purpose of the survey is to get at officials are included in the core or individual state the “hidden figure” of crime. Many crimes go un Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance instruments. reported to the police, so relying on such reports to establish crime rates (as is done when using Several states in the region have passed anti-bul the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s summaries lying legislation that requires schools to collect in of “reports to the police,” known as the Uniform formation on bullying and transmit the data to the Crime Reports) provides a limited picture of state department of education. Disciplinary files criminal victimization (Hagan 1993). may also capture reports to school officials about bullying behavior. But even if these data files were Every other year the School Crime Supplement is accessible and contained reliable and compre added to the National Crime Victimization Survey hensive data on reporting of bullying, they would on behalf of the U.S. Departments of Justice and seriously underrepresent bullying, given that most Education. The supplement covers all students bullying incidents are not reported to officials (at ages 12–18 who attended at least some school in least 64 percent according to the 2007 National the prior academic year. The 2007 survey invited Crime Victimization Survey). These data files 11,161 people ages 12–18 to participate; 6,503 of also provide no opportunity to contrast students them completed the survey, and 5,621 met the reporting victimization with students who did not screening criteria and thus comprise the data report their victimization to school officials. set used to conduct the secondary analysis. The purpose of the supplement is to provide a fuller Summary statistics on bullying using previous picture of victimization beyond that captured years’ National Crime Victimization Survey School by official reports to police of crimes at school. It Crime Supplement data are produced annually asks approximately 140 items on a wide range of for the National Center for Education Statistics school behaviors and student perceptions, several Indicators of School Crime and Safety publication of which deal specifically with bullying. Tables (Dinkes, Cataldi, and Lin-Kelly 2008). In addi B1–B4 list the survey items used for the analysis tion, general bullying statistics are made available in this study by category of characteristic. A full using the “quick tables” function on the National
20 characTeriSTicS of bullying, bullying vicTimS, and SchoolS aSSociaTed WiTh reporTing of bullying Table b1 bullying victimization items from the 2007 school crime supplement to the national crime Victimization survey used, created, or recoded Survey item note Teacher/adult notifieda made fun of, called names Spread rumors Threatened you pushed, shoved, tripped, etc. These items were used to create a new item for this study: “number of types do things not wanted of bullying experienced.” excluded you destroyed your property how often happened this school year School building outside on school grounds These items were used to create a new item for this study: “number of on a school bus different locations bullying occurred.” Somewhere else none (physical injury) bruises or swelling cuts, scratches black eye/bloody nose These items were used to create a new item for this study: “Suffered physical Teeth chipped/knocked out injury.” broken bones/internal injuries Knocked unconscious other (physical injury) a. Used as dependent variable in the analysis. Source: U.S. Department of Justice 2007.
appendix b. daTa Source and meThodology 21Table b2bullying victim items from the 2007 national crime Victimization survey and the school crime supplementused, created, or recoded Survey item note gender Taken from the national crime victimization Survey race and hispanic origin Taken from the national crime victimization Survey current grade region where student household located Taken from the national crime victimization Survey household income Taken from the national crime victimization Survey grades recoded into satisfactory grades (a’s, b’s, and c’s) and unsatisfactory grades (d’s and f’s) for this study Skipped classes during academic year adult at school who cares about me School has adult that helps with problems have friend at school to talk to friend at school helps with problems during school year in a fight did you ever bring: gun These items were used to create a new item for did you ever bring: knife as weapon this study: “brought weapon into school.” did you ever bring: other weapon how often student afraid someone will attack or harm them at school how often student afraid someone will attack or harm them on way to/from school besides school, how often student afraid someone will attack or harm them Stay away from shortest route to school Stay away from entrance to school These items were used to create a new item for Stay away from hallway or stairs this study: “Student fear of attack and avoidance Stay away from school cafeteria of school areas or activities scale.” Stay away from restrooms Stay away from other places inside school Stay away from school parking lot Stay away from other places on school grounds avoid activities: attack harm you avoid classes: attack harm you Stay home: Thought someone attack harm youSource: U.S. Department of Justice 2007.
22 characTeriSTicS of bullying, bullying vicTimS, and SchoolS aSSociaTed WiTh reporTing of bullying Table b3 schools of bullying victim items from the 2007 school crime supplement to the national crime Victimization survey used, created, or recoded Survey item note School public or private attend church-related school everyone knows school rules Same punishment for breaking the rules School rules are fair Students know punishments School rules are strictly enforced Teachers care about students Teachers treat students with respect Teachers make students feel bad how often distracted by students misbehaving how often teachers punish students for misbehaving during school year know students on drugs/alcohol during school year someone offered student illegal drugs/alcohol possible to get alcohol possible to get marijuana possible to get prescription drugs possible to get crack possible to get cocaine possible to get uppers possible to get downers These items were used to create a new item for this possible to get lSd study: “School crime and drug problem scale.” possible to get pcp possible to get heroin Seen hate-related words or symbols Know students brought gun to school Seen student with gun gotten a loaded gun gangs at school gangs involved in fights/violence at school gangs sell drugs at school School safety: security guards School safety: staff/adults in hallway School safety: metal detectors School safety: locked doors School safety: visitors sign in School safety: locker checks School safety: safety badges School safety: security cameras School safety: code of conduct Source: U.S. Department of Justice 2007.
appendix b. daTa Source and meThodology 23Table b4unused items from the 2007 school crime supplement to the national crime Victimization surveySurvey item noteperson numberTotal number of incidents for that personfirst occurrence of this householdfirst occurrence of a person within this householdrespondent line number These items are administrative and reflectreason for ScS non-interview codes used by the interviewer.incident start column locationincident record lengthfour digit yearadult present during questionsattend school this yearhome schooled These items reflect the screening criteria. Students who did not attend school at least part of theall or some home school year were not included in the supplement.home school grade equivalentWhether school was assigned or family chose the school no clear rationale for including in a study of reporting.month current school begins Whether a student begins in august or September does not seem relevant to bullying.lowest grade in school because grade level was already being analyzed, thehighest grade in school specific grades included in the school were not analyzed.respondent age This item is highly correlated with grade level (r = .906)future: 4 year college This item is a follow-up item to the preceding item about attending school after high school.future plans after high school no clear rationale for including in a study of reportingparticipation in extracurricular activities no clear rationale for including in a study of reportinghow many days skipped classes This item is a follow-up item to the more inclusive question asking whether the student skipped any classes during the academic year.number of times in a fight This item is a follow-up to the more inclusive item asking if the student was involved in any fights during the academic year.harass: post This set of items is used by the national centerharass: contact for education Statistics to analyze cyber-bullying,harass: contact text although the items are described as “harassment.”harassment how often it could not be determined whether these items are already captured by the earlier bullying questions.harassment: notifyhate related words: racehate related words: religionhate related words: ethnicity These questions are follow-up items asked if a student indicated “yes” to whether they saw hate-relatedhate related words: disability words or symbols during the past academic year.hate related words: genderhate related words: Sexual orientationWhether student as ever called a hate related word at school no clear rationale for including in a study of reporting. (conTinued)
24 characTeriSTicS of bullying, bullying vicTimS, and SchoolS aSSociaTed WiTh reporTing of bullying Table b4 (conTinued) unused items from the 2007 school crime supplement to the national crime Victimization survey Survey item note how long it took the student to get to school no clear rationale for including in a study of reporting. how the student got to and from school no clear rationale for including in a study of reporting. Whether students were allowed to leave school for lunch no clear rationale for including in a study of reporting. how often students left school for lunch no clear rationale for including in a study of reporting. future plans for school after high school no clear rationale for including in a study of reporting. extra-curricular: athletics no clear rationale for including in a study of reporting. extra-curricular: Spirit groups, pep no clear rationale for including in a study of reporting. extra-curricular: arts no clear rationale for including in a study of reporting. extra-curricular: academics no clear rationale for including in a study of reporting. extra-curricular: Student government no clear rationale for including in a study of reporting. extra-curricular: Service clubs no clear rationale for including in a study of reporting. been called hate related words no clear rationale for including in a study of reporting. assigned school or family choose no clear rationale for including in a study of reporting. how long to school no clear rationale for including in a study of reporting. how get to school no clear rationale for including in a study of reporting. how get home from school no clear rationale for including in a study of reporting. Students allowed to leave school at lunch no clear rationale for including in a study of reporting Source: U.S. Department of Justice 2007.
appendix b. daTa Source and meThodology 25 Center for Education Statistics website (www.nces. Handling survey nonresponse and ed.gov/quicktables) following each survey data re complex survey sampling lease. The survey data have been used extensively in research studies and reports. For example, Two major issues about the way the sample was DeVoe and Kaffenberger (2005) used survey data constructed were taken into account. First, not all to examine victim and school characteristics of students eligible to respond to the survey par students who were victims of direct and indirect ticipated, which could bias results if those who bullying behaviors. However, to date, no National responded are different in substantive ways from Center for Education Statistics publications have those who did not. According to the Bureau of used the survey to specifically examine the report Justice Statistics (U.S. Department of Justice 2007), ing of bullying victimization to school officials. nonparticipating students are more likely to come from non-White, urban, and lower income houseIdentifying reported and unreported bullying holds. Therefore, a person weight is used to take nonresponse into account and to provide more To first identify whether students responding to accurate estimates of population parameters.6 the National Crime Victimization Survey School Weighting helps account for potential biases due Crime Supplement were bullied, interviewers to nonresponse and permits inferences from these stated the following: “Now I have some questions data to the national population of student bully about what students do at school that make you ing victims. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (2007, feel bad or are hurtful to you. We often refer to p. 172) concludes that, “although the extent of this as being bullied” (U.S. Department of Justice non-response bias cannot be determined, weight 2009). Students were considered bullied if they ing adjustments, which corrected for differential responded affirmatively to questions that probed response rates, should have reduced the problem.” whether they were bullied in one or more of the following ways: being made fun of; being the All tests of statistical significance were based on subject of rumors; being threatened with harm; unweighted sample sizes, but the descriptive re being pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on; being sults (the percentages of reported and nonreported made to do things they did not want to do; being bullying victimization) were weighted to provide excluded from activities on purpose; and having national population estimates. So although 1,778 property destroyed on purpose. About 32 percent students indicated that they were bullied during of students in the 2007 survey indicated they had the previous academic year (the total number of been the victims of at least one type of bullying observations), the weighted estimates reported behavior during the last academic year. are based on 7,775,000 students and represent a national estimate of student bullying victims, To identify whether bullied students indicated a procedure the National Center for Education whether their victimization was reported to a Statistics follows when reporting these and other teacher or other adult at the school, students were nationally representative survey data (Bauer et al. asked, “Was a teacher or some other adult at the 2008; Dinkes, Kemp, and Baum 2009). school notified about (this event/any of these events)?” Of the roughly 32 percent of students Second, the survey uses a stratified, multistage who reported at least one bullying incident on cluster sample design. Analyzing such data the survey, 36 percent reported that their victim without taking this complexity of sampling into ization was reported to a school official and 64 account could result in biased estimates. The percent did not.5 The question does not permit the Bureau of Justice Statistics (2007) recommends researchers to identify who reported the bullying that standard errors be computed in a manner victimization, be it the student, a parent, or some that takes this type of sampling into account. one else (such as a bystander). The complex sampling design used for the survey
26 characTeriSTicS of bullying, bullying vicTimS, and SchoolS aSSociaTed WiTh reporTing of bullying required sample weights, sampling units (clusters), concern for error. This is also known as “listwise and sampling strata to adjust for clustering and deletion.” And even if item nonresponse is 15 stratification to compute valid standard errors. percent or higher, weighted adjustments that The Stata 11 statistical package (StataCorp 2009) address survey nonresponse may also reduce the was used, and the analysis was conducted using problem of item nonresponse bias (Bauer et al. the Taylor series linearization method with pri 2008). mary sampling units and strata variables available in the data set. Second, for a few interviews a parent or other guardian in the household provided the dataHandling item nonresponse and proxy interviews by proxy for the student. Sensitivity analysis was conducted to determine whether including Two other methodological issues, apart from the or excluding the proxy interviews changed the sampling, also required attention: item non- findings (table B6). Proxy interviews comprised response and proxy interviews. Item response such a small percentage (2.3 percent) of student rates were 95–99 percent for nearly all items in bullying victims that their impact on the overall the analysis, meaning that there is little poten analyses was negligible. The results without the tial for item nonresponse bias in the results. proxy interviews indicate marginal changes in the Table B5 lists items with response rates below overall percentages and no changes in the results 95 percent. The potential for bias still exists of significant tests for the variables. for these variables, so analysis involving them should be interpreted with caution. This is the Selecting items standard used by the National Center for Educa tion Statistics when analyzing these same data.7 As mentioned, the National Crime Victimization Allison (2002) argues that when the percentage Survey School Crime Supplement has approxi of item data missing is low (a few percent of mately 140 items. This project was designed to missing cases), complete case analysis can be be descriptive, and it is not uncommon for such done—that is, analysis can be conducted only on projects to analyze a large number of variables. cases for which all data are available—with no Similar research studies using large, national survey data sets, including National Center for Table b5 Education Statistics reports on school crime and survey items with less than 95 percent response safety, have reported on large numbers of vari rate ables. For example, the Nieman and DeVoe (2009) response study using data from the School Survey on Crime response rate with and Safety includes separate analyses of nearly rate “don’t know” 100. This study included 51 items from the survey item (percent) as missing about the student’s bullying victimization, the School safety: individual student, and the school that the student locked doors 100.0 94.9 attends. A few selected items from the household how often this happened this school year (bullying) 99.8 94.9 portion of the larger National Crime Victimiza future after high school 99.5 94.2 tion Survey, such as household income and region, School safety: were also included. See tables B1–B4 for further locker checks 100.0 94.0 information on the items that were used, created, School safety: or recoded for the analysis. Whether a student security cameras 100.0 89.8 was bullied was used to define the subpopulation household income 80.2 80.2 of bullying victims, and the “teacher/adult noti Source: U.S. Department of Justice 2007. fied” variable was the dependent variable in the cross-tabulations.
appendix b. daTa Source and meThodology 27Table b6Relationship between bullying characteristics and reporting of bullying, as indicated by students ages 12–18during the 2007 school year, without proxy interviews Students Students whose whose bullying was bullying was chance number of reported not reported Standard chi-square probability characteristic observations (percent) (percent) error value of result victim of bullying victim of bullying 1,736 35.7 64.4 — — — physical injury to victim yes 115 59.1 40.9 5.34 31.6* <.001 Types of bullying Threatened 313 54.5 45.5 2.96 65.95* <.001 destroyed property 230 51.5 48.5 3.51 32.47* <.001 pushed, shoved, tripped, and the like 611 45.0 55.0 2.11 37.70* <.001 made fun of, called names 1,145 37.9 62.1 1.42 8.38 .005 excluded 295 37.8 62.2 2.99 .763 .458 Spread rumors 991 37.2 62.8 1.59 2.64 .152 victim made to do things he or she did not want to do 232 36.9 63.1 3.21 .200 .674 number of types of bullying experienced one 697 25.7 74.3 1.75 Two 473 37.1 62.9 2.43 Three 283 44.7 55.3 3.22 four 157 44.8 55.2 3.71 70.9* <.001 five 78 52.7 47.3 5.49 Six 31 59.4 40.6 8.61 Seven 17 50.3 49.7 12.16 frequency of bullying during academic year once or twice this school year 1,029 32.1 67.9 1.65 once or twice a month 344 39.7 60.3 2.37 23.97* <.001 once or twice a week 168 44.3 55.7 3.47 almost every day 111 49.1 50.9 4.84 location where bullying occurred School building 1,371 36.4 63.6 2.30 1.98 .144 outside on school grounds 394 38.1 61.9 2.35 1.49 .232 School bus 145 47.5 52.5 4.25 10.29* .002 Somewhere else 68 25.8 74.2 4.91 3.23 .058 number of different locations bullying occurred one 1,522 34.6 65.4 1.27 11.04* .002 Two or more 197 46.1 53.9 3.72— is not applicable.* Difference between bullying characteristic and reporting is statistically significant, p < .0033.Source: Authors’ analysis based on U.S. Department of Justice 2007.
28 characTeriSTicS of bullying, bullying vicTimS, and SchoolS aSSociaTed WiTh reporTing of bullying There are 15 items within the bullying victimiza 2004) or who helps them solve problems may be tion domain. Because of the small number of more likely to disclose being bullied. Students that bullying victims that experienced each type of have a friend whom they can talk to or who helps physical injury, a single injury item was created them solve problems may be less likely to report to by collapsing all physical injury responses (for a school official. Because the frequency of weapon example, “cuts, scratches,” “bruises, swelling”) carrying is very low, the survey items whether a together. All seven types of bullying (for example, student brought a gun, knife as weapon, or other “being excluded” or “being called names”) were weapon to school were collapsed into a single item analyzed and used to create an item indicating “brought weapon to school.” Whether students how many different types of bullying a victim were involved in a fight or brought a weapon to experienced (ranging from one to seven). The school may reflect students’ willingness to protect frequency and location variables were taken from themselves physically or to personally “settle the the Student Crime Supplement, and the location score” and not report their victimization to a variables were also used to create a new item in school official. Finally, the student victim domain dicating whether a student was victimized in one also includes a scale based on how fearful the or multiple locations. According to Unnever and student was of being attacked and on whether the Cornell (2004), items focused on the severity and student avoids certain school areas or activities. As frequency of bullying are most relevant to whether fear and avoidance increase, bullying victims may bullying is reported. be more reluctant to come forward to report their victimization (Oliver and Candappa 2007). There are 14 items within the student victim domain. Sociodemographic characteristics (gen There are 22 items in the school domain. Items der, race/ethnicity, and household income) are that indicated whether the school was public included because they are routinely analyzed in or private, or church-affiliated, were analyzed studies with national survey data (for example, to determine whether the reporting of bullying Dinkes, Cataldi, and Lin-Kelly 2008). Because varied by the school’s structural characteristics. the National Crime Victimization Survey School Ten items examine school culture and classroom Crime Supplement is a national survey, an item environment. Unnever and Cornell (2004) found indicating the region of the country in which that students were more likely to report their bul the student’s household is located is included to lying if they perceived that the school’s culture was determine whether there are differences between not tolerant of bullying. Other research indicates the Census’ Northeast region (which overlaps that schools in which students feel positive toward substantially with Regional Educational Labora their school and teachers and schools in which tory Northeast and Islands) and other regions of classrooms have few disruptions due to behavioral the United States. Prior research (for example, issues are less likely to have a bullying prob Middleton 2008) indicates the negative relation lem (Swearer et al. 2010). Crime, drug, and bias ship of grade level to reporting, so this variable incidents may signal to students that their school is also included. DeVoe and Kaffenberger (2005) is dangerous and disorderly, which could affect have studied the relationship between academic reporting. The school crime and drug problem performance and bullying itself but not between scale was created by combining 13 items related to academic performance and reporting of bully those factors. Schools are implementing a variety ing, so academic performance and whether the of security measures (such as metal detectors), student has skipped school are included. Four so nine items related to security measures in the items relevant to “protective factors”—namely school were also included. relationships with adults and friends at the school—are also included. Students that have an Some items were not used because they did not adult at school who cares about them (Benard have clear, justifiable rationale for inclusion in
appendix b. daTa Source and meThodology 29 a project about the reporting of bullying (see they were never afraid, almost never afraid, some table B4). Others that were not analyzed included times afraid, and afraid most of the time. “Never administrative variables used by Census Bureau afraid” and “almost never afraid” responses interviewers (such as respondent line number) counted for 0 points on the scale, and “sometimes or screening variables used to remove ineligible afraid” and “afraid most of the time” responses household members from the School Crime counted for 1 point on the scale. Students were Supplement (such as whether the respondent at then asked 11 items about whether they avoided tended school this year). In a few instances, only school, certain activities at school, or certain loca the first in a series of items was analyzed. For ex tions in the school because of their fear of attack. ample, whether the student skipped school during Each location or activity that a student avoided the academic year was analyzed, but the number because of fear of attack counted for 1 point on the of days school was skipped was not. In another scale. instance, age was found to be highly correlated with grade level (r = .906) for a sample that only The school crime and drug problem scale mea involves students, ages 12–18 and in grades 6–12, sured whether the student knew other students so the age variable was not included. who brought a loaded gun to school, whether he or she had seen another student with a loaded gun For some items, response categories were collapsed at school, whether he or she could have acquired for the analysis. For the most part, this involved a loaded gun at school, whether gangs were at items that asked students questions about their school, whether gangs were involved in selling level of agreement with a statement. For example, drugs at school, whether gangs at school were students were provided a statement “School involved in fights and violence, whether he or she rules are fair,” and asked whether they “agree,” had seen hate-related words and symbols at school, “strongly agree,” “disagree,” or “strongly disagree” whether he or she was offered drugs or alcohol with the statement. “Agree” and “strongly agree” during the academic year, whether he or she knew responses were combined, as were “disagree” and other students on drugs or alcohol, whether it was “strongly disagree” responses. possible to get alcohol at school, whether it was possible to get marijuana at school, whether it wasScaled items possible to get prescription drugs at school, and whether it was possible to get crack, cocaine, or As mentioned in the previous section, two other drugs at school. Each “yes” response counted scales—a student fear of attack and avoidance of for 1 point on the scale. school areas or activities scale and a school crime and drug problem scale—were created to simplify Because both scales comprised yes or no (0 or 1) the analysis because several items in the National responses to individual items, the Kuder-Rich Crime Victimization Survey School Crime Supple ardson coefficient of reliability of the individual ment ask about the same underlying construct, items was computed. Some researchers advo and there appeared to be limited value to analyz cate minimum reliability coefficients with di ing and presenting results for the individual items chotomous data between .70 and .80 (Netemeyer, comprising the scales. Bearden, and Sharma 2003; Robinson, Shaver, and Wrightsman 1991). When rounded, both reliability For the student fear of attack and avoidance of coefficients are .80 or higher. The reliability coef school areas or activities scale, students were ficients were computed on the sample of bullying asked three items about their fear at school, their victims rather than the entire sample. A point fear on the way to or from school, and their fear biserial correlation was calculated between each about being attacked or harmed outside of school. scale and reporting of bullying. The student fear of For these three items, students indicated whether attack and avoidance of school areas and activities
30 characteristics of bullying, bullying victims, and schools associated with reporting of bullying scale met the Bonferroni adjusted significance figure b1 level of .0036, confirming the chi-square result in Point-biserial correlation between the student table 3 (figure B1); the reliability coefficient for the fear of attack and avoidance of school areas and activities scale and reporting scale is .80 (table B7). A point-biserial correlation was calculated between the school crime and drug . pbis vs087 fearavoid2 if vr1==1 (obs = 1772) problem scale and reporting. The school crime and Np = 625 p = 0.35 drug problem scale did not meet the Bonferroni Nq = 1147 q = 0.65 adjusted significance level of .0023, confirming the Coef. = 0.1150 t = 4.8722 P>|t| = 0.0001 df = 1770 chi-square result in table 5 (figure B2); the reliabil- Source: Authors’ calculations based on U.S. Department of Justice 2007. ity coefficient for the scale is .84 (table B8).Chi-square analysis figure b2 Point-biserial correlation between the school Descriptive analysis (cross-tabulations) was crime and drug problem scale and reporting conducted to respond to the research questions, . pbis vs087 schcrime focusing on comparisons between reported and (obs = 1158) Np = 429 p = 0.37 unreported bullying according to self-reports by Nq = 729 q = 0.63 bullying victims. Cross-tabulations were usually Coef. = –0.0623 t = –2.1224 P>|t| = 0.0340 df = 1156 composed of 2×2 tables analyzing the presence Source: Authors’ calculations based on U.S. Department of Justice 2007. or absence of a characteristic with reporting or table b7 Kuder-Richardson coefficient of reliability for the student fear of attack and avoidance of school areas and activities scale number of items in the scale = 14 number of complete observations = 1,782 number of item observations item difficulty item variance item-test correlation vs106 1,782 0.9444 0.0525 0.4088 vs107 1,782 0.9736 0.0257 0.4303 vs108 1,782 0.9456 0.0515 0.5066 vs109 1,782 0.9551 0.0429 0.4520 vs110 1,782 0.9506 0.0469 0.4587 vs111 1,782 0.9691 0.0299 0.4350 vs112 1,782 0.9703 0.0289 0.3175 vs113 1,782 0.9736 0.0257 0.3756 vs114 1,782 0.9590 0.0393 0.4054 vs115 1,782 0.9826 0.0171 0.4179 vs116 1,782 0.9815 0.0182 0.3263 fearattrecode1 1,782 0.9052 0.0858 0.5008 fearattrecode2 1,782 0.9540 0.0439 0.4260 fearattrecode3 1,782 0.9383 0.0579 0.4240 test 0.9574 0.4203 Kr20 coefficient is 0.7976. Source: Authors’ calculations based on U.S. Department of Justice 2007.
appendix b. daTa Source and meThodology 31Table b8Kuder-Richardson coefficient of reliability for the school crime and drug problem scalenumber of items in the scale = 13number of complete observations = 1,165 number of item observations item difficulty item variance item-test correlation vs123 1,165 0.0961 0.0869 0.2832 vs124 1,165 0.0343 0.0332 0.2428 vs125 1,165 0.0987 0.0890 0.3651 vs126 1,165 0.2601 0.1924 0.5078 vs128 1,165 0.1330 0.1153 0.6099 vr16 1,165 0.3056 0.2122 0.6697 alcoholrecode 1,165 0.2524 0.1887 0.5585 marijuanarecode 1,165 0.3674 0.2324 0.7052 prescriptionrecode 1,165 0.2893 0.2056 0.6116 ganginfightsviolenceSchrecode 1,165 0.2000 0.1600 0.5288 vs105 1,165 0.5142 0.2498 0.2832 vs066 1,165 0.4918 0.2499 0.5413 vs067 1,165 0.1502 0.1277 0.5032 Test 0.2456 0.4931Kr20 coefficient is 0.8433.Source: Authors’ calculations based on U.S. Department of Justice 2007. nonreporting), but some larger tables were also the prevalence of reporting along a particular used. variable (such as gender) departs from this overall sample finding. To test for differences between reporters and nonreporters, Pearson’s chi-square was used Since chi-square analysis does not indicate the because the variables were categorical in nature. direction of the relationship of two variables, Chi-square analysis is a statistical technique that correlations were calculated for statistically measures the discrepancy between the observed significant items to determine whether a variable cell counts and what would be expected if the was associated with an increase or decrease in rows and columns were unrelated. If the rows and reporting. Point-biserial correlations (rpbi) were columns are related (that is, if the chi-square test used to indicate directionality for the two scales shows a statistically significant result by the stan (student fear of attack and avoidance of school dards explained below), the characteristic is found areas or activities scale and school crime and drug to be related to or associated with the independent problem scale) and other continuous variables. variable (in this case, reporting). In short, chi- For statistically significant dichotomous variables, square analysis indicates whether there are signifi tetrachoric correlations (rho, appropriate for 2×2 cant variations in the distribution of a particular tables of categorical data) are reported to indicate characteristic between reported and nonreported directionality (Welkowitz, Ewen, and Cohen 1982). bullying victimization. Because 35.8 percent of All correlations procedures have similar qualities the total bullying victim sample indicated their in that they range from 0 to 1, with 0 indicating victimization was reported, a chi-square will be no relationship and 1 indicating perfect relation more likely to be statistically significant the more ship. In addition, the correlations can be positive
32 characTeriSTicS of bullying, bullying vicTimS, and SchoolS aSSociaTed WiTh reporTing of bullying or negative to indicate the directionality of the The survey also relies on respondents to self-deter relationship (Welkowitz, Ewen, and Cohen 1982). mine their condition as a victim of bullying using their own interpretation and conceptions to define The initial threshold to determine statisti a situation as bullying. Although this is considered cal significance was set at p = .05 (two-tailed). an improvement over official reports because bully But because of the number of significance tests ing victims are often reluctant to report victimiza conducted, there is an increased likelihood of tion to school officials, self-reports are susceptible some results being statistically significant due to other biases (Unnever and Cornell 2004). Similar to chance. To guard against this, a Bonferroni situations may not be labeled as bullying by differ multiple comparison procedure was calculated to ent respondents. The survey does not specifically adjust for the number of significance tests (Bland mention how often victimization has to be repeated and Altman 1995). Specifically, the critical value to be defined as bullying. Students are asked how of the significance test (0.05) was divided by persistent the bullying has been, and responses the number of statistical tests calculated within can range from “once or twice this school year” each of the three research domains: 15 analyses to “nearly every day.” The National Center for were conducted in the characteristics of bullying Education Statistics includes all students who have victimization domain (research question 1), 14 experienced bullying as bullying victims regard analyses in the characteristics of bullying victims less of how often the bullying occurred, a position domain (research question 2), and 22 analyses in also taken for this study. Some students may be the characteristics of bullying victims’ schools reluctant to tell an interviewer about being bullied, domain (research question 3). The Bonferroni pro so some victims may not be reported as such. Al cedure yields adjusted statistical significance levels though research conducted across 14 countries by of 0.0033 for characteristics of bullying victimiza Smith et al. (2002) indicates that children are able tion, 0.0036 for characteristics of bullying victims, to differentiate bullying from teasing and other and 0.0023 for characteristics of bullying victims’ behaviors, the extent of bullying misspecification schools. These adjusted levels are used to identify in the National Crime Victimization Survey School statistically significant associations. Crime Supplement is unknown. Ideally, other measures related to bullying status and whether it Regardless of whether the findings are statisti was reported would be derived from independent cally significant, it is important to note that all the observation or other means. But having variables data analysis is descriptive and does not allow for that represent students’ interpretation of their causal interpretation. No conclusions about the ef surroundings that may influence reporting, which fectiveness of school policies and strategies on the is of primary interest to this investigation, may reporting of bullying can be reached. be viewed as a strength. No attempt was made by the survey researchers or by the research team toFurther limitations of the study determine whether students correctly self-reported their bullying victimization, their reporting to The National Crime Victimization Survey School school officials, or any other information they Crime Supplement was designed to present data provided interviewers. on a wide range of crime, safety, and discipline issues in schools; it is not focused specifically on The states in which students reside are not identi bullying. It contains only one item on whether the fied in the publicly available survey data, so it is bullying experienced was reported to an adult, and not possible to provide more fine-grained analysis that item is not linked to any specific bullying inci by jurisdiction. However, analysis conducted using dent or time sequence, so it cannot be determined the national sample take advantage of the statisti whether reporting occurred after a specific type of cal power provided by the increased sample size. bullying or after a specific amount of time. The data do permit classification by Census region
appendix b. daTa Source and meThodology 33(“Northeast” comprises the seven Regional Educa The cross-tabulations conducted for this studytional Laboratory Northeast and Islands states— consist of descriptive analysis of the relationship ofConnecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hamp one variable (within the three domains of bullyingshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont—as victimization, bullying victim, or bullying victims’well as Pennsylvania and New Jersey, but does not schools) with another (reporting or nonreporting).include the U.S. Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico. Such simple cross-tabulations do not control forTable 2 shows the results of one analysis that com additional variables, as could be done, for expares the Northeast region with other regions. ample, in a more advanced multivariate statistical analysis.The survey results obtained from these datawould have more credibility if validated by other The data analysis is also limited to the variablesresearch. The data on whether bullying victims available in the data set. Other unmeasuredreported their victimization to school officials variables that may influence reporting behaviorcannot be verified independently to determine the cannot be accounted or controlled for. Moreover,accuracy of the estimates, but another way to vali the instrument does not ask students whetherdate survey findings is to determine whether the they witnessed bullying and reported it. Bystanderestimates reported in this project are “reasonable.” nonreporting in bullying is considered a criticalTo do this, other U.S. national survey results that ingredient to the “culture of silence” in schoolsinclude items on bullying and reporting to school (see, for example, Hendricks 2008). There are alsoofficials are needed. Although there are a few no data on bullying perpetrators, and victims arenational surveys that include an item about bully not asked about the characteristics of their victiming (such as the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance izers in the National Crime Victimization SurveySystem), none that includes an item about the School Crime Supplement. Unnever and Cornellreporting of bullying victimization by student vic (2004) were able to analyze the “perceived toleratims to school officials could be found. Middleton tion of bullying at the school” in their analysis of(2008) included a question on reporting, but that reporting versus unreported bullying in Roanoke,study covered Oklahoma only and did not indicate Virginia, but the National Crime Victimizationthe time frame for which students were asked Survey School Crime Supplement does not includeto recall their victimization (the School Crime such items in its questionnaire.Supplement asks students to indicate whether theywere victimized during the past academic year). Finally, sampling error presents another limitaThe age groups covered by the survey are also tion. Because the sample of students selecteddifferent (the School Crime Supplement does not for each administration of the School Crimecover students in grades 3 and 5, so only students Supplement is just one of many possible samplesin grade 7 could be compared). The Unnever and that could have been selected, it is possible thatCornell (2004) study, which was a more intensive estimates from a given sample may differ from esinvestigation of reporting, includes only middle timates that would have been produced from otherschools (grades 6–8) in Roanoke, Virginia. randomly drawn student samples.
34 characTeriSTicS of bullying, bullying vicTimS, and SchoolS aSSociaTed WiTh reporTing of bullyingnoTes Psychologists, the National Association of Sec ondary School Principals, Fight Crime: Invest The authors thank the following people for their in Kids, the Learning Disabilities Association comments and assistance at various stages of the of America, and the National PTA. project: Candice Bocala, Rebecca Carey, Katie Culp, David Farrington, Craig Hoyle, Kevin 5. Approximately 0.6 percent of students who Huang, Jo Louie, Susan Mundry, Laura O’Dwyer, were bullied did not respond to the item about Dan Oleweus, OK-Choon Park, David Perda, Jan whether the bullying incident was reported to Phlegar, Mary Stenson, Maria Ttofi, Jill Weber, a teacher or some other adult at the school. and the ATS peer reviewers. 6. Weights are numbers added or accumulated 1. It could not be determined whether the U.S. to obtain universe estimates of particular Virgin Islands is considering anti-bullying events. The final weight is a multiplier that legislation at the time of writing. indicates how many times a particular sample record is to be counted (U.S. Department of 2. Personal correspondence, Lourdes Rivera- Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Putz, December 2, 2008. Justice Statistics 2007). 3. Personal correspondence, Lourdes Rivera 7. National Center for Education Statistics (2010) Putz, December 2, 2008. Statistical Standard 2-2-2-4 states that, “If the item response rate is below 85 percent for any 4. Organizations that are part of the coalition items used in a report, a nonresponse bias include the American Federation of Teach- analysis is also required for each of those items ers, the National Association of School (this does not include individual test items).”
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36 characTeriSTicS of bullying, bullying vicTimS, and SchoolS aSSociaTed WiTh reporTing of bullyingGriffin, R.S., and Gross, A.M. (2004). Childhood bullying: Maine Governor’s Children’s Cabinet. (2006). Maine’s best current empirical findings and future directions for practices bullying and harassment prevention: a guide research. Aggression and Violent Behavior 9, 379–400. for schools and communities. Augusta, ME: Maine Governor’s Children’s Cabinet.Hagan, F.E. (1993). Research methods in criminal justice and criminology. Third edition. New York: MacMillan. Marshall, M.P. (2010, March 9). Students get a message: no bullying at Pine Grove. The Daily News (Newburyport,Halligan, J. (2005, August 17). Death by cyber-bully. Boston MA). Retrieved from http://www.newburyportnews. Globe. Retrieved from http://www.boston.com/news/ com/punews/local_story_067232804.html/ globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2005/08/17/ resources_etp_mobile_story. death_by_cyber_bully/. Martindale, S. (2009, June 1). Parents of teen whoHendricks, L. (2008, December 22). Schools target bullies. shot himself file $3 million claim against dis The Daily News (Newburyport, MA). Retrieved from trict. OC [Orange County] Register. Retrieved from http://www.newburyportnews.com/punews/local_ http://articles.latimes.com/2009/jun/04/local/ story_356234448.html. me-suicide-bully4.Hergert, L. (2004). Bullying and students with disabilities: Middleton, K. (2008). Bullying perceptions of third, fifth and summary report of parent focus groups. Newton, MA: seventh grade students in Oklahoma public schools, Education Development Center. Retrieved from http:// 2005. Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Department of www.urbancollaborative.org/pdfs/Bullying.pdf. Health.Juvonen, J., Graham, S., and Schuster, M.A. (2003). Bullying National Crime Prevention Council. (2008). Bullying. Re among young adolescents: the strong, the weak, and trieved from http://www.ncpc.org/topics/bullying. the troubled. Pediatrics 112(6), 1231–1237. National Institutes of Health. (2001, April 24). BullyingKaiser Family Foundation. (2001). Talking with kids about widespread in U.S. schools, survey finds. NIH News Re tough issues: a national survey of parents and kids. lease. Retrieved from http://www.nichd.nih.gov/news/ Retrieved June 3, 2010, from http://www.talkwithkids. releases/bullying.cfm. org/nickelodeon/details.pdf. National Safe Schools Partnership. (2007). Bridging the gapKazdin, A. and Rotella, C. (2009, August 11). Bullies: they in federal law: promoting safe schools and improved can be stopped, but it takes a village. Slate. Retrieved student achievement by preventing bullying and harass March 3, 2010, from http://www.slate.com/id/2249424. ment in our schools. Washington, DC: National Safe Schools Partnership. Retrieved from https://sites.nea.King, L., and Hendricks, L. (2010, February 8). Local schools org/schoolsafety/images/bridginggap.pdf. work to combat bullying: recent incidents serve to highlight ongoing issue. The Daily News (Newburyport, Neiman, S., and DeVoe, J.F. (2009). Crime, violence, disci MA). Retrieved from http://www.newburyportnews. pline, and safety in U.S. public schools: findings from com/punews/local_story_038222912.html. the school survey on crime and safety: 2007–08 (NCES 2009-326). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of EduKlass, P. (2009, June 9). At last, facing down bullies (and cation, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center their enablers). New York Times, p. D-5. for Education Statistics.Larkin, D. (2007). Vermont girls report facing bullying, harass Netemeyer, R.G., Bearden, W.O., and Sharma, S. (2003). ment. Retrieved from http://www.timesargus.com/apps/ Scaling procedures: issues and applications. Thousand pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070321/NEWS01/703210355/1002. Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
referenceS 37Oliver, C., and Candappa, M. (2007). Bullying and the adolescence—a longitudinal 8-year follow-up study. politics of telling. Oxford Review of Education, 33(1), Child Abuse and Neglect 24(7), 873–881. 71–86. Sourander A., Jensen P, Ronning J.A., Elonheimo, H.,Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying at school: what we know and Niemela, S., Helenius, H., et al. (2007) Childhood bul what we can do. New York: Blackwell. lies and victims and their risk of criminality in late adolescence: the Finnish From a Boy to a Man study.Parker-Roerdon, L., Rudewick, D., and Gorton, D. (2007). Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. 161, Direct from the field: a guide to bullying prevention. 546–552. Boston, MA: Commonwealth of Massachusetts, De partment of Public Health. Srabstein, J., and Piazza, T. (2008). Public health, safety, and educational risks associated with bullying behavPepler, D., and Craig, W. (Eds.). (2008). Understanding iors in American adolescents. International Journal of and addressing bullying: an international perspective. Adolescent Medicine and Health, 20(2), 223–233. Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse. StataCorp. (2009). Stata users guide: release 11. College StaPeterson, L. (2009, June 10). Officials hope anonymous online tion, TX: StataCorp LP. reports will reduce bullying. The Tampa Tribune. Re trieved from http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/jun/10/ Swearer, S.M., Espelage, D.L., Valliancourt, T., and Hymel, school-officials-hope-anonymous-online-reports-wil/. S. (2010). What can be done about school bullying? Linking research to educational practice. EducationalRigby, K. (2003). Consequences of bullying in schools. Ca Researcher 39(1), 38–48. nadian Journal of Psychiatry, 48(9), 583–590. Teicher, S.A. (2006, October 19). How students can breakRobinson, J. P., Shaver, P. R., and Wrightsman, L. S. (1991). the ‘code of silence.’ Christian Science Monitor, p. 15. Criteria for scale selection and evaluation. In J. P. Rob inson, P. R. Shaver, and L. S. Wrightsman (Eds.), Mea Unnever, J.D., and Cornell, D.G. (2004). Middle school vic sures of personality and social psychological attitudes tims of bullying: who reports being bullied? Aggressive (pp. 1–15). San Diego, CA: Academic Press. Behavior 30, 373–388.Sampson, R. (2004). Bullying in schools: problem-oriented U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sci guides for police. Problem-Specific Guides Series. Guide ences, National Center for Education Statistics. (2010). No. 12. Washington, DC: Office of Community-Ori Statistical standards: planning and design of surveys. ented Policing Services, U.S. Department of Justice. (NCES Standard 2-2). Retrieved from http://nces. ed.gov/statprog/2002/std2_2.asp.Sidorowicz, K., Hair, E.C., and Milot, A. (2009). Assessing bullying: a guide for out-of-school program practi U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, tioners. Research-to-Results Brief, Publication No. Bureau of Justice Statistics. (2007). National Crime 2009–42. Washington, DC: Child Trends. Victimization Survey, School Crime Supplement, 2005 [Codebook]. Ann Arbor, MI: Interuniversity ConsorSmith, P.K., Cowie, H., Olafsson, R.F., and Liefooghe, A. (2002). tium for Political and Social Research. Definitions of bullying: a comparison of terms used, and age and gender differences, in a fourteen country interna U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, tional comparison. Child Development, 73, 1119–1133. Bureau of Justice Statistics. (2009). National Crime Victimization Survey, School Crime Supplement, 2007Sourander, A., Helstelä, L, Helenius, H., and Piha, J. [Codebook]. Ann Arbor, MI: Interuniversity Consor (2000). Persistence of bullying from childhood to tium for Political and Social Research.
38 characTeriSTicS of bullying, bullying vicTimS, and SchoolS aSSociaTed WiTh reporTing of bullyingVaznis, J. (2009, November 15). Support swells Welkowitz, J., Ewen, R.B., and Cohen, J. (1982). Introduc for anti-bullying legislation. Boston Globe. tory statistics for the behavioral sciences. Third edition. Retrieved from http://www.boston.com/ San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. news/education/k_12/articles/2009/11/15/ support_swells_for_anti_bully_legislation/?page=1. The White House. (2009). Prepared remarks of President Barack Obama: Back to School Event, SeptemberVossekull, B., Fein, R., Reddy, M., Borum, R., and Modze 8, 2009, Arlington, Virginia. Retrieved Decem leski, W. (2002). The final report and findings of the safe ber 17, 2009, from http://www.whitehouse.gov/ school initiative: implications for prevention of school MediaResources/PreparedSchoolRemarks/ attacks in the United States. Washington, DC: U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of Education.
ANTI HARASSMENT/BULLYING TASK FORCE Notes #4 THE OCR LETTER Compiled by: Whitted, Cleary & Takiff, LLC Brooke R. Whitted 3000 Dundee Rd, Suite 303 Northbrook, Illinois 60062 Ph. 847-564-8662 Fax 847-564-8419 www.wct-law.com Whittedlaw@aol.com 1
OCR Letter Dated October 26, 2010 on Discriminatory Harassment Introduction: The purpose of this letter, which was sent to all education executives, was to remind them that some acts of bullying and harassment may also fall within OCR jurisdiction.I. Mandated Actions Highlights Schools, when limiting their inquiry to policy and code of conduct violations, may improperly be limiting the federally required scope of their inquiry. The real standard is: When peer harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex, or disability is sufficiently serious that it creates a hostile environment and such harassment is encouraged, tolerated, not adequately addressed, or ignored by school employees. This definition also encompasses post secondary institutions. Harassment creates a hostile environment when the conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent so as to limit or interfere with a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by a school. A school is responsible for addressing harassment incidents about which it knows or reasonably should have known. Districts must have well publicized policies prohibiting harassment behaviors. If an investigation reveals that a discriminatory harassment occurred, a school must take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end the harassment, eliminate any hostile environment and its effects, and prevent the harassment from recurring. 2
A school district, in taking reasonable steps to end harassment, must not penalize the student who was harassed. Remediation duties do not have to be requested by the harassed student. The letter gives certain examples of remedial actions which might be appropriate. Readers are referred to the letter, which is attached, or this link: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201010.html.II. Retaliation Schools must take steps to prevent retaliation against the harassed student who reports the misbehavior or violation. When harassment triggers the civil rights laws, the administration has to do more than just disciplining the perpetrators. The responsibilities include the following: A. Eliminate the hostile environment created by the harassment; B. Address the effects of the harassment; and C. Ensure that the harassment does not recur. The common approach of having the harassed student confront his or her accusers is seen as an “informal mechanism” and must only be used if it is on a voluntary basis. The practice of simply throwing the kids into the room to talk to each other is seen as largely inappropriate. 3
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OFFICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS October 26, 2010 Dear Colleague: In recent years, many state departments of education and local school districts have taken steps to reduce bullying in schools. The U.S. Department of Education (Department) fully supports these efforts. Bullying fosters a climate of fear and disrespect that can seriously impair the physical and psychological health of its victims and create conditions that negatively affect learning, thereby undermining the ability of students to achieve their full potential. The movement to adopt anti‐bullying policies reflects schools’ appreciation of their important responsibility to maintain a safe learning environment for all students. I am writing to remind you, however, that some student misconduct that falls under a school’s anti‐bullying policy also may trigger responsibilities under one or more of the federal antidiscrimination laws enforced by the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). As discussed in more detail below, by limiting its response to a specific application of its anti‐bullying disciplinary policy, a school may fail to properly consider whether the student misconduct also results in discriminatory harassment. The statutes that OCR enforces include Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 1 (Title VI), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 2 (Title IX), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 3 (Section 504); and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 4 (Title II). Section 504 and Title II prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. 5 School districts may violate these civil rights statutes and the Department’s implementing regulations when peer harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex, or disability is sufficiently serious that it creates a hostile environment and such harassment is encouraged, tolerated, not adequately addressed, or ignored by school employees. 6 School personnel who understand their legal obligations to address harassment under these laws are in the best position to prevent it from occurring and to respond appropriately when it does. Although this letter focuses on the elementary and secondary school context, the legal principles also apply to postsecondary institutions covered by the laws and regulations enforced by OCR. Some school anti‐bullying policies already may list classes or traits on which bases bullying or harassment is specifically prohibited. Indeed, many schools have adopted anti‐bullying policies that go beyond prohibiting bullying on the basis of traits expressly protected by the federal civil 1 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq. 2 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. 3 29 U.S.C. § 794. 4 42 U.S.C. § 12131 et seq. 5 OCR also enforces the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, 42 U.S.C. § 6101 et seq., and the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act, 20 U.S.C. § 7905. This letter does not specifically address those statutes. 6 The Department’s regulations implementing these statutes are in 34 C.F.R. parts 100, 104, and 106. Under these federal civil rights laws and regulations, students are protected from harassment by school employees, other students, and third parties. This guidance focuses on peer harassment, and articulates the legal standards that apply in administrative enforcement and in court cases where plaintiffs are seeking injunctive relief. Our mission is to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the Nation.
Page 2‐ Dear Colleague Letter: Harassment and Bullying rights laws enforced by OCR—race, color, national origin, sex, and disability—to include such bases as sexual orientation and religion. While this letter concerns your legal obligations under the laws enforced by OCR, other federal, state, and local laws impose additional obligations on schools. 7 And, of course, even when bullying or harassment is not a civil rights violation, schools should still seek to prevent it in order to protect students from the physical and emotional harms that it may cause. Harassing conduct may take many forms, including verbal acts and name‐calling; graphic and written statements, which may include use of cell phones or the Internet; or other conduct that may be physically threatening, harmful, or humiliating. Harassment does not have to include intent to harm, be directed at a specific target, or involve repeated incidents. Harassment creates a hostile environment when the conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to interfere with or limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by a school. When such harassment is based on race, color, national origin, sex, or disability, it violates the civil rights laws that OCR enforces. 8 A school is responsible for addressing harassment incidents about which it knows or reasonably should have known. 9 In some situations, harassment may be in plain sight, widespread, or well‐known to students and staff, such as harassment occurring in hallways, during academic or physical education classes, during extracurricular activities, at recess, on a school bus, or through graffiti in public areas. In these cases, the obvious signs of the harassment are sufficient to put the school on notice. In other situations, the school may become aware of misconduct, triggering an investigation that could lead to the discovery of additional incidents that, taken together, may constitute a hostile environment. In all cases, schools should have well‐publicized policies prohibiting harassment and procedures for reporting and resolving complaints that will alert the school to incidents of harassment. 10 When responding to harassment, a school must take immediate and appropriate action to investigate or otherwise determine what occurred. The specific steps in a school’s investigation will vary depending upon the nature of the allegations, the source of the complaint, the age of the student or students involved, the size and administrative structure of the school, and other factors. In all cases, however, the inquiry should be prompt, thorough, and impartial. If an investigation reveals that discriminatory harassment has occurred, a school must take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end the harassment, eliminate any hostile 7 For instance, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has jurisdiction over Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000c (Title IV), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, or national origin by public elementary and secondary schools and public institutions of higher learning. State laws also provide additional civil rights protections, so districts should review these statutes to determine what protections they afford (e.g., some state laws specifically prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation). 8 Some conduct alleged to be harassment may implicate the First Amendment rights to free speech or expression. For more information on the First Amendment’s application to harassment, see the discussions in OCR’s Dear Colleague Letter: First Amendment (July 28, 2003), available at http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/firstamend.html, and OCR’s Revised Sexual Harassment Guidance: Harassment of Students by School Employees, Other Students, or Third Parties (Jan. 19, 2001) (Sexual Harassment Guidance), available at http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/shguide.html. 9 A school has notice of harassment if a responsible employee knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known, about the harassment. For a discussion of what a “responsible employee” is, see OCR’s Sexual Harassment Guidance. 10 Districts must adopt and publish grievance procedures providing for prompt and equitable resolution of student and employee sex and disability discrimination complaints, and must notify students, parents, employees, applicants, and other interested parties that the district does not discriminate on the basis of sex or disability. See 28 C.F.R. § 35.106; 28 C.F.R. § 35.107(b); 34 C.F.R. § 104.7(b); 34 C.F.R. § 104.8; 34 C.F.R. § 106.8(b); 34 C.F.R. § 106.9.
Page 3‐ Dear Colleague Letter: Harassment and Bullying environment and its effects, and prevent the harassment from recurring. These duties are a school’s responsibility even if the misconduct also is covered by an anti‐bullying policy, and regardless of whether a student has complained, asked the school to take action, or identified the harassment as a form of discrimination. Appropriate steps to end harassment may include separating the accused harasser and the target, providing counseling for the target and/or harasser, or taking disciplinary action against the harasser. These steps should not penalize the student who was harassed. For example, any separation of the target from an alleged harasser should be designed to minimize the burden on the target’s educational program (e.g., not requiring the target to change his or her class schedule). In addition, depending on the extent of the harassment, the school may need to provide training or other interventions not only for the perpetrators, but also for the larger school community, to ensure that all students, their families, and school staff can recognize harassment if it recurs and know how to respond. A school also may be required to provide additional services to the student who was harassed in order to address the effects of the harassment, particularly if the school initially delays in responding or responds inappropriately or inadequately to information about harassment. An effective response also may need to include the issuance of new policies against harassment and new procedures by which students, parents, and employees may report allegations of harassment (or wide dissemination of existing policies and procedures), as well as wide distribution of the contact information for the district’s Title IX and Section 504/Title II coordinators. 11 Finally, a school should take steps to stop further harassment and prevent any retaliation against the person who made the complaint (or was the subject of the harassment) or against those who provided information as witnesses. At a minimum, the school’s responsibilities include making sure that the harassed students and their families know how to report any subsequent problems, conducting follow‐up inquiries to see if there have been any new incidents or any instances of retaliation, and responding promptly and appropriately to address continuing or new problems. When responding to incidents of misconduct, schools should keep in mind the following: • The label used to describe an incident (e.g., bullying, hazing, teasing) does not determine how a school is obligated to respond. Rather, the nature of the conduct itself must be assessed for civil rights implications. So, for example, if the abusive behavior is on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, or disability, and creates a hostile environment, a school is obligated to respond in accordance with the applicable federal civil rights statutes and regulations enforced by OCR. • When the behavior implicates the civil rights laws, school administrators should look beyond simply disciplining the perpetrators. While disciplining the perpetrators is likely a necessary step, it often is insufficient. A school’s responsibility is to eliminate the 11 Districts must designate persons responsible for coordinating compliance with Title IX, Section 504, and Title II, including the investigation of any complaints of sexual, gender‐based, or disability harassment. See 28 C.F.R. § 35.107(a); 34 C.F.R. § 104.7(a); 34 C.F.R. § 106.8(a).
Page 4‐ Dear Colleague Letter: Harassment and Bullying hostile environment created by the harassment, address its effects, and take steps to ensure that harassment does not recur. Put differently, the unique effects of discriminatory harassment may demand a different response than would other types of bullying. Below, I provide hypothetical examples of how a school’s failure to recognize student misconduct as discriminatory harassment violates students’ civil rights. 12 In each of the examples, the school was on notice of the harassment because either the school or a responsible employee knew or should have known of misconduct that constituted harassment. The examples describe how the school should have responded in each circumstance. Title VI: Race, Color, or National Origin Harassment • Some students anonymously inserted offensive notes into African‐American students’ lockers and notebooks, used racial slurs, and threatened African‐American students who tried to sit near them in the cafeteria. Some African‐American students told school officials that they did not feel safe at school. The school investigated and responded to individual instances of misconduct by assigning detention to the few student perpetrators it could identify. However, racial tensions in the school continued to escalate to the point that several fights broke out between the school’s racial groups. In this example, school officials failed to acknowledge the pattern of harassment as indicative of a racially hostile environment in violation of Title VI. Misconduct need not be directed at a particular student to constitute discriminatory harassment and foster a racially hostile environment. Here, the harassing conduct included overtly racist behavior (e.g., racial slurs) and also targeted students on the basis of their race (e.g., notes directed at African‐American students). The nature of the harassment, the number of incidents, and the students’ safety concerns demonstrate that there was a racially hostile environment that interfered with the students’ ability to participate in the school’s education programs and activities. Had the school recognized that a racially hostile environment had been created, it would have realized that it needed to do more than just discipline the few individuals whom it could identify as having been involved. By failing to acknowledge the racially hostile environment, the school failed to meet its obligation to implement a more systemic response to address the unique effect that the misconduct had on the school climate. A more effective response would have included, in addition to punishing the perpetrators, such steps as reaffirming the school’s policy against discrimination (including racial harassment), publicizing the means to report allegations of racial harassment, training faculty on constructive responses to racial conflict, hosting class discussions about racial harassment and sensitivity to students of other races, and conducting outreach to involve parents and students in an effort to identify problems and improve the school climate. Finally, had school officials responded appropriately 12 Each of these hypothetical examples contains elements taken from actual cases.
Page 5‐ Dear Colleague Letter: Harassment and Bullying and aggressively to the racial harassment when they first became aware of it, the school might have prevented the escalation of violence that occurred. 13 • Over the course of a school year, school employees at a junior high school received reports of several incidents of anti‐Semitic conduct at the school. Anti‐Semitic graffiti, including swastikas, was scrawled on the stalls of the school bathroom. When custodians discovered the graffiti and reported it to school administrators, the administrators ordered the graffiti removed but took no further action. At the same school, a teacher caught two ninth‐graders trying to force two seventh‐graders to give them money. The ninth‐graders told the seventh‐graders, “You Jews have all of the money, give us some.” When school administrators investigated the incident, they determined that the seventh‐graders were not actually Jewish. The school suspended the perpetrators for a week because of the serious nature of their misconduct. After that incident, younger Jewish students started avoiding the school library and computer lab because they were located in the corridor housing the lockers of the ninth‐graders. At the same school, a group of eighth‐grade students repeatedly called a Jewish student “Drew the dirty Jew.” The responsible eighth‐graders were reprimanded for teasing the Jewish student. The school administrators failed to recognize that anti‐Semitic harassment can trigger responsibilities under Title VI. While Title VI does not cover discrimination based solely on religion, 14 groups that face discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics may not be denied protection under Title VI on the ground that they also share a common faith. These principles apply not just to Jewish students, but also to students from any discrete religious group that shares, or is perceived to share, ancestry or ethnic characteristics (e.g., Muslims or Sikhs). Thus, harassment against students who are members of any religious group triggers a school’s Title VI responsibilities when the harassment is based on the group’s actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics, rather than solely on its members’ religious practices. A school also has responsibilities under Title VI when its students are harassed based on their actual or perceived citizenship or residency in a country whose residents share a dominant religion or a distinct religious identity. 15 In this example, school administrators should have recognized that the harassment was based on the students’ actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic identity as Jews (rather than on the students’ religious practices). The school was not relieved of its responsibilities under Title VI because the targets of one of the incidents were not actually Jewish. The harassment was still based on the perceived ancestry or ethnic characteristics of the targeted students. Furthermore, the harassment negatively affected the ability and willingness of Jewish students to participate fully in the school’s 13 More information about the applicable legal standards and OCR’s approach to investigating allegations of harassment on the basis of race, color, or national origin is included in Racial Incidents and Harassment Against Students at Educational Institutions: Investigative Guidance, 59 Fed. Reg. 11,448 (Mar. 10, 1994), available at http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/race394.html. 14 As noted in footnote seven, DOJ has the authority to remedy discrimination based solely on religion under Title IV. 15 More information about the applicable legal standards and OCR’s approach to investigating complaints of discrimination against members of religious groups is included in OCR’s Dear Colleague Letter: Title VI and Title IX Religious Discrimination in Schools and Colleges (Sept. 13, 2004), available at http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/religious‐rights2004.html.
Page 6‐ Dear Colleague Letter: Harassment and Bullying education programs and activities (e.g., by causing some Jewish students to avoid the library and computer lab). Therefore, although the discipline that the school imposed on the perpetrators was an important part of the school’s response, discipline alone was likely insufficient to remedy a hostile environment. Similarly, removing the graffiti, while a necessary and important step, did not fully satisfy the school’s responsibilities. As discussed above, misconduct that is not directed at a particular student, like the graffiti in the bathroom, can still constitute discriminatory harassment and foster a hostile environment. Finally, the fact that school officials considered one of the incidents “teasing” is irrelevant for determining whether it contributed to a hostile environment. Because the school failed to recognize that the incidents created a hostile environment, it addressed each only in isolation, and therefore failed to take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end the harassment and prevent its recurrence. In addition to disciplining the perpetrators, remedial steps could have included counseling the perpetrators about the hurtful effect of their conduct, publicly labeling the incidents as anti‐Semitic, reaffirming the school’s policy against discrimination, and publicizing the means by which students may report harassment. Providing teachers with training to recognize and address anti‐Semitic incidents also would have increased the effectiveness of the school’s response. The school could also have created an age‐ appropriate program to educate its students about the history and dangers of anti‐ Semitism, and could have conducted outreach to involve parents and community groups in preventing future anti‐Semitic harassment. Title IX: Sexual Harassment • Shortly after enrolling at a new high school, a female student had a brief romance with another student. After the couple broke up, other male and female students began routinely calling the new student sexually charged names, spreading rumors about her sexual behavior, and sending her threatening text messages and e‐mails. One of the student’s teachers and an athletic coach witnessed the name calling and heard the rumors, but identified it as “hazing” that new students often experience. They also noticed the new student’s anxiety and declining class participation. The school attempted to resolve the situation by requiring the student to work the problem out directly with her harassers. Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, which can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Thus, sexual harassment prohibited by Title IX can include conduct such as touching of a sexual nature; making sexual comments, jokes, or gestures; writing graffiti or displaying or distributing sexually explicit drawings, pictures, or written materials; calling students sexually charged names; spreading sexual rumors; rating students on sexual activity or performance; or circulating, showing, or creating e‐ mails or Web sites of a sexual nature.
Page 7‐ Dear Colleague Letter: Harassment and Bullying In this example, the school employees failed to recognize that the “hazing” constituted sexual harassment. The school did not comply with its Title IX obligations when it failed to investigate or remedy the sexual harassment. The conduct was clearly unwelcome, sexual (e.g., sexual rumors and name calling), and sufficiently serious that it limited the student’s ability to participate in and benefit from the school’s education program (e.g., anxiety and declining class participation). The school should have trained its employees on the type of misconduct that constitutes sexual harassment. The school also should have made clear to its employees that they could not require the student to confront her harassers. Schools may use informal mechanisms for addressing harassment, but only if the parties agree to do so on a voluntary basis. Had the school addressed the harassment consistent with Title IX, the school would have, for example, conducted a thorough investigation and taken interim measures to separate the student from the accused harassers. An effective response also might have included training students and employees on the school’s policies related to harassment, instituting new procedures by which employees should report allegations of harassment, and more widely distributing the contact information for the district’s Title IX coordinator. The school also might have offered the targeted student tutoring, other academic assistance, or counseling as necessary to remedy the effects of the harassment. 16 Title IX: Gender‐Based Harassment • Over the course of a school year, a gay high school student was called names (including anti‐gay slurs and sexual comments) both to his face and on social networking sites, physically assaulted, threatened, and ridiculed because he did not conform to stereotypical notions of how teenage boys are expected to act and appear (e.g., effeminate mannerisms, nontraditional choice of extracurricular activities, apparel, and personal grooming choices). As a result, the student dropped out of the drama club to avoid further harassment. Based on the student’s self‐identification as gay and the homophobic nature of some of the harassment, the school did not recognize that the misconduct included discrimination covered by Title IX. The school responded to complaints from the student by reprimanding the perpetrators consistent with its anti‐ bullying policy. The reprimands of the identified perpetrators stopped the harassment by those individuals. It did not, however, stop others from undertaking similar harassment of the student. As noted in the example, the school failed to recognize the pattern of misconduct as a form of sex discrimination under Title IX. Title IX prohibits harassment of both male and female students regardless of the sex of the harasser—i.e., even if the harasser and target are members of the same sex. It also prohibits gender‐based harassment, which may include acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex or sex‐stereotyping. Thus, it can be sex discrimination if students are harassed either for exhibiting what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic for their 16 More information about the applicable legal standards and OCR’s approach to investigating allegations of sexual harassment is included in OCR’s Sexual Harassment Guidance, available at http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/shguide.html.
Page 8‐ Dear Colleague Letter: Harassment and Bullying sex, or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity and femininity. Title IX also prohibits sexual harassment and gender‐based harassment of all students, regardless of the actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity of the harasser or target. Although Title IX does not prohibit discrimination based solely on sexual orientation, Title IX does protect all students, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students, from sex discrimination. When students are subjected to harassment on the basis of their LGBT status, they may also, as this example illustrates, be subjected to forms of sex discrimination prohibited under Title IX. The fact that the harassment includes anti‐LGBT comments or is partly based on the target’s actual or perceived sexual orientation does not relieve a school of its obligation under Title IX to investigate and remedy overlapping sexual harassment or gender‐based harassment. In this example, the harassing conduct was based in part on the student’s failure to act as some of his peers believed a boy should act. The harassment created a hostile environment that limited the student’s ability to participate in the school’s education program (e.g., access to the drama club). Finally, even though the student did not identify the harassment as sex discrimination, the school should have recognized that the student had been subjected to gender‐based harassment covered by Title IX. In this example, the school had an obligation to take immediate and effective action to eliminate the hostile environment. By responding to individual incidents of misconduct on an ad hoc basis only, the school failed to confront and prevent a hostile environment from continuing. Had the school recognized the conduct as a form of sex discrimination, it could have employed the full range of sanctions (including progressive discipline) and remedies designed to eliminate the hostile environment. For example, this approach would have included a more comprehensive response to the situation that involved notice to the student’s teachers so that they could ensure the student was not subjected to any further harassment, more aggressive monitoring by staff of the places where harassment occurred, increased training on the scope of the school’s harassment and discrimination policies, notice to the target and harassers of available counseling services and resources, and educating the entire school community on civil rights and expectations of tolerance, specifically as they apply to gender stereotypes. The school also should have taken steps to clearly communicate the message that the school does not tolerate harassment and will be responsive to any information about such conduct. 17 Section 504 and Title II: Disability Harassment • Several classmates repeatedly called a student with a learning disability “stupid,” “idiot,” and “retard” while in school and on the school bus. On one occasion, these students tackled him, hit him with a school binder, and threw his personal items into the garbage. The student complained to his teachers and guidance counselor that he was continually being taunted and teased. School officials offered him counseling services and a 17 Guidance on gender‐based harassment is also included in OCR’s Sexual Harassment Guidance, available at http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/shguide.html.
Page 9‐ Dear Colleague Letter: Harassment and Bullying psychiatric evaluation, but did not discipline the offending students. As a result, the harassment continued. The student, who had been performing well academically, became angry, frustrated, and depressed, and often refused to go to school to avoid the harassment. In this example, the school failed to recognize the misconduct as disability harassment under Section 504 and Title II. The harassing conduct included behavior based on the student’s disability, and limited the student’s ability to benefit fully from the school’s education program (e.g., absenteeism). In failing to investigate and remedy the misconduct, the school did not comply with its obligations under Section 504 and Title II. Counseling may be a helpful component of a remedy for harassment. In this example, however, since the school failed to recognize the behavior as disability harassment, the school did not adopt a comprehensive approach to eliminating the hostile environment. Such steps should have at least included disciplinary action against the harassers, consultation with the district’s Section 504/Title II coordinator to ensure a comprehensive and effective response, special training for staff on recognizing and effectively responding to harassment of students with disabilities, and monitoring to ensure that the harassment did not resume. 18 I encourage you to reevaluate the policies and practices your school uses to address bullying 19 and harassment to ensure that they comply with the mandates of the federal civil rights laws. For your convenience, the following is a list of online resources that further discuss the obligations of districts to respond to harassment prohibited under the federal antidiscrimination laws enforced by OCR: • Sexual Harassment: It’s Not Academic (Revised 2008): http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/ocrshpam.html • Dear Colleague Letter: Sexual Harassment Issues (2006): http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/sexhar‐2006.html • Dear Colleague Letter: Religious Discrimination (2004): http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/religious‐rights2004.html • Dear Colleague Letter: First Amendment (2003): http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/firstamend.html 18 More information about the applicable legal standards and OCR’s approach to investigating allegations of disability harassment is included in OCR’s Dear Colleague Letter: Prohibited Disability Harassment (July 25, 2000), available at http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/disabharassltr.html. 19 For resources on preventing and addressing bullying, please visit http://www.bullyinginfo.org, a Web site established by a federal Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs. For information on the Department’s bullying prevention resources, please visit the Office of Safe and Drug‐Free Schools’ Web site at http://www.ed.gov/offices/OESE/SDFS. For information on regional Equity Assistance Centers that assist schools in developing and implementing policies and practices to address issues regarding race, sex, or national origin discrimination, please visit http://www.ed.gov/programs/equitycenters.
Page 10‐ Dear Colleague Letter: Harassment and Bullying • Sexual Harassment Guidance (Revised 2001): http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/shguide.html • Dear Colleague Letter: Prohibited Disability Harassment (2000): http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/disabharassltr.html • Racial Incidents and Harassment Against Students (1994): http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/race394.html Please also note that OCR has added new data items to be collected through its Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), which surveys school districts in a variety of areas related to civil rights in education. The CRDC now requires districts to collect and report information on allegations of harassment, policies regarding harassment, and discipline imposed for harassment. In 2009‐10, the CRDC covered nearly 7,000 school districts, including all districts with more than 3,000 students. For more information about the CRDC data items, please visit http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/whatsnew.html. OCR is committed to working with schools, students, students’ families, community and advocacy organizations, and other interested parties to ensure that students are not subjected to harassment. Please do not hesitate to contact OCR if we can provide assistance in your efforts to address harassment or if you have other civil rights concerns. For the OCR regional office serving your state, please visit: http://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/CFAPPS/OCR/contactus.cfm, or call OCR’s Customer Service Team at 1‐800‐421‐3481. I look forward to continuing our work together to ensure equal access to education, and to promote safe and respectful school climates for America’s students. Sincerely, /s/ Russlynn Ali Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
ANTI HARASSMENT/BULLYING TASK FORCE Notes #5 Compiled by: Whitted, Cleary & Takiff, LLC Brooke R. Whitted 3000 Dundee Rd, Suite 303 Northbrook, Illinois 60062 Ph. 847-564-8662 Fax 847-564-8419 www.wct-law.com Whittedlaw@aol.com 1
Bullying Notes Continued These are simply notes taken by Mr. Whitted from reading provided bythe Task Force Coordinator, Peggie Garcia. Document reviewed includes the07/15/09 Education Week. Relevant points: 1. Bullying needs to be addressed with the same gravity with which we address other problems disrupting learning. The message should be that it will not be tolerated. BRW note: I have always said that the only “zero tolerance” should be zero tolerance for bullying and harassment. 2. The Education Week article makes the very good point that students are asked to do math and other problems repeatedly; the same should be true for issues involving bullying and harassment; the lessons should be given frequently. 3. Schools must also have in place a reliable system for letting parents know when and where harassment is occurring. It was pointed out in the article that the Education Department were let out grants for school climate surveys, then there will be safety scores by school. School leaders must create a climate where students know there are adults they can trust and to whom they can safely report information. In my experience, this is the weak spot in most districts. 4. Safe reporting can involve anonymous tip lines; manuals that require staff to report acts of bullying and keep victims safe from retaliation; and a focus on bystanders who can protect victims, as in Finland’s KiVa system. 5. Less than half of principals surveyed feel that the children of other than traditional sexual persuasion feel safe at their school. Arnie Duncan has appointed Mr. Kevin Jennings to head the Safe and Drug Free Schools Department at the U.S. Department of Education. Sexual orientation is the second most common reason for school bullying. 2
6. When teachers avoid discussing homophobia, kids get the message that homophobic epithets are acceptable. Teaching tolerance should be as much a part of the curriculum as Algebra.7. BRW note: Although it is true that only two groups of individuals are restricted to buildings (prisoners and students) during certain times, schools should not encourage a prison yard mentality.8. BRW note: How about looking at bullying as an expression of violence, not just of individuals, but also of systems of individuals caught in an institutional order that can be psychological alienating, disrespectful and oppressive?9. The “shadow side of school,” created by the very nature of our educational system, engenders a culture of hostility, fear, shame, excessive competition, and lack of respect for differences.10. Consistent (and fair) consequences, used well, undermine traditional destructive privilege and protect those who are less powerful. 3