This October marks the 8th anniversary of National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. Begun in 2006, the initiative exists to educate, raise awareness, and prevent mistreatment of youth in schools.This is especially critical for America’s 6.5 million students with disabilities. Youth with disabilities often face bullying and harassment in schools, which can negatively affect their education and prevent them from achieving their academic and career goals.
The Administration is committed to combatting bullying and its impact on all youth, including youth with disabilities. Recently, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights took steps to strengthen our nation’s response to bullying. On October 21, they released a ‘Dear Colleague’ letter to educators clearly detailing public schools’ responsibilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of Americans with Disabilities Act. The goal of this guidance letter is to remind educators that bullying will not be tolerated for students with disabilities. They also provide links to resources for parents and educators who may be confronting bullying in their schools. Read more about the guidance here.
Every youth deserves the opportunity to successfully transition to adulthood. In addition to providing students the academic and career preparation they need, we must ensure that we break down the barriers to their success. Bullying is one such barrier that will not be tolerated in our nation’s schools. To find out what you can do to prevent bullying, please go to www.stopbullying.gov.
Taryn Williams is Associate Director of Public Engagement.