Partnership Calls on Congress to Help Prevent Bullying
NEA is among nearly 30 leading education, health, civil rights, law enforcement, youth development, and other groups calling on Congress to take action to prevent bullying and harassment in schools.
NEA and the other groups are members of the National Safe Schools Partnership, an informal coalition committed to ensuring that America's schools are safe for all children, which has released a statement spelling out the partnership's recommendations and citing the supporting research.
According to the partnership, "Bridging the Gap in Federal Law: Promoting Safe Schools and Improved Student Achievement By Preventing Bullying and Harassment in Our Schools" calls for changes in federal law that will assure that schools and districts maintain sensible anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies, which will have a dramatic impact in improving school safety, and correspondingly, student achievement for all students."
Specifically, Partnership members recommend that Congress amend federal law to ensure that:
Schools and districts have comprehensive and effective student conduct policies that include clear prohibitions regarding bullying and harassment;
Schools and districts focus on effective prevention strategies and professional development designed to help school personnel meaningfully address issues associated with bullying and harassment; and
States and districts maintain and report data regarding incidents of bullying and harassment in order to inform the development of effective federal, state, and local policies that address these issues.
According to the policy brief:
Despite abundant research and experience that confirms the power of prevention in addressing the short and long-term consequences of bullying and harassment, and despite the American public's clear and primary concern about school safety, federal law does not comprehensively address the issue. In order for federal law to address the well-established factors that have a direct bearing on student achievement and the success of our schools, Congress must act to help eliminate the safety and achievement problems associated with bullying and harassment.
The Partnership members have proposed federal legislation that would effectively implement the recommendations contained in its policy paper through amendments to the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Congress is currently considering reauthorization of NCLB.