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School Bullying - Extent of Legal Protections for Vulnerable Groups Needs to Be More Fully Assessed

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2012
64 pages
This report by the Government Accountability Office examines the problem of school bullying and efforts to protect victims.
This research examined current efforts by States to deal with the problem of school bullying. School bullying laws in eight States were reviewed by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to determine who is covered by the laws and the requirements placed on State agencies and local school districts to deal with the problem of school bullying. The review found that six of the eight States had laws that covered protected classes of people, such as by race, sex, or gender; six of the school districts examined had policies that prohibited bullying, listed possible consequences for engaging in bullying, and had developed approaches to prevent and respond to bullying. The report discusses the use of Federal civil rights laws to provide protection to victims of bullying under certain circumstances, along with State civil rights laws that could also be used to combat the problem of bullying. In addition to the discussion of the use of Federal and State laws to combat bullying, the report identifies the work of the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Justice to carry out research and disseminate information to the public on efforts to combat bullying and raise awareness about the problem. Recommendations from the GAO to deal with the problem of school bullying are also discussed. Tables and appendixes