Category Archives for Specific Groups
Posted: October 14, 2015
Longer ago than I like to admit, I was a Puerto Rican middle school student. I remember witnessing fellow Hispanic or Latino kids endure name calling and rumor spreading nearly every day over many years. I also recall hearing about other kids being beaten up or getting physically hurt because of bullying. Personally, I experienced bullying through social isolation — hearing after the fact from my peers about how much fun they all had at that awesome birthday party, quinceañero (Sweet 15th), movie or beach outing to which I was not invited.
Why were my friends and I targeted? Was it because we were Hispanic? Not at all. We were all Puerto Rican kids, growing up and attending school in Puerto Rico (a U.S. territory), and being bullied by kids of our same ethnicity.
But we were seen as... Continue Reading
Posted: September 10, 2015
Bullying can take many forms: hitting or pushing (physical bullying), teasing or calling others bad names (verbal bullying). And it also involves relational forms, such as manipulating peer relationships by spreading nasty rumors, threatening to terminate friendships or excluding someone from a social group. Students who are bullied in any of these ways may suffer from depression and anxiety, and have academic problems.
In the past two decades, relational aggression has received an abundance of media attention. Books, movies and websites have portrayed girls as being cruel to one another, thus creating and reinforcing the stereotype of “mean girls.” However, this popular perception of girls being meaner than boys is not always supported by research. While data from the U.S. Department of Education shows some differences between how boys and girls experience bullying – for example, girls were more... Continue Reading
Posted: July 22, 2015
As a pediatric emergency medicine physician for more than 20 years, seeing sick and injured kids in and out of your emergency department can be difficult, but a part of the job. Knowing you can help them, and being able to make them feel better is why we do what we do. Sadly, many of the children I was seeing with preventable injuries from fighting or assaults were a result of bullying or retaliatory behaviors. I needed to know what I could do to help, to turn the tide – and I have spent the last 10 years of my career focused on this issue. However, bullying still remains a bit of a mystery to many medical professionals.
In April of 2014, I presented at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Research Council (NRC) working session, “... Continue Reading
Posted: December 9, 2014
As a Sikh American working to end school bullying in the post-9/11 environment, I believe the key to success is building partnerships with communities outside our own.
The Sikh Coalition was formed in response to the 9/11 attacks. As Sikhs mourned the loss of innocent lives that day, we encountered bigotry because of our appearance.
Observant Sikhs are distinguished by turbans and uncut hair. Our turban is a reminder to lead an ethical life, and our hair is considered a natural part of the body and left uncut out of respect for nature. The core teaching of the Sikh religion is that all human beings are equal in dignity and divinity. Ironically, as images of the 9/11 attacks were played repeatedly on television, so too were images of the masterminds – bearded men wearing turbans. A new stereotype was born.
This stereotype has infected our schools. According to... Continue Reading
Posted: November 18, 2014
More than one-quarter of students between the ages of 12 and 18 reported being bullied at school during the 2010-11 school year — nearly 7 million students. Continue Reading
Posted: November 5, 2014
Bullying is wrong and must not be tolerated. The sad reality, though, is that bullying persists in our schools today, especially for America's 6.75 million students with disabilities in our public schools. Bullying raises civil rights concerns under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which are two federal laws that prohibit disability discrimination.
The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) investigates and resolves complaints of disability discrimination at public schools. OCR recently issued guidance to public schools (available in Spanish) to help... Continue Reading
Posted: June 19, 2014
The White House has declared June as LGBT Pride Month. During this month many organizations are focused on raising awareness about issues, and will celebrate the progress made towards increasing equal rights for those who identify themselves with the LGBT community. President Barack Obama has made efforts towards improving gay rights such as in employment. In the United States, people are still being fired from their jobs for their sexual orientation. President Obama continues to work with Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, so that injustices like this are stopped.
LGBT awareness has led school districts to adopt policies that protect LGBT students. This includes inclusive anti-bullying policies. According to one study (Kosciw, Greytak, Diaz, & Bartkiewicz, 2010) 84% of LGBT students report being bullied in school. In addition... Continue Reading
Posted: June 5, 2014
The mission of Outright Vermont is to build safe, healthy, and supportive environments for LGBTQQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning) youth, ages 13-22. Since 1989, Outright has worked to provide safety and support for LGBTQQ youth, helped make schools more inclusive, and focused on youth empowerment, leadership, and advocacy. Outright works with nearly 5,000 youth annually, is the oldest LGBTQQ youth serving organization in the state of Vermont, and is one of the few remaining free-standing LGBTQQ youth centers nationwide.
Outright does a lot of work in Vermont’s schools. We travel around the state, educating teachers, staff, and students at elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and colleges. We offer a variety of presentations, including Ally Development for Adults Working with LGBTQQ Youth, Anti-Harassment Training, LGBTQQ 101, and Trans* 101. This year,... Continue Reading
Posted: February 24, 2014
It is the rare adopted child who has not received questions and comments about adoption. They come from people who know them or from complete strangers:“Do you know anything about your ‘real’ parents?” “Why were you adopted?” “Do you want to find your ‘real’ parents?” or “How come you don’t look like your parents?”
Some people ask adopted kids questions because they are being friendly or curious. Most are unaware of the embarrassment and pain their questions or comments may cause. Other kids may intentionally attempt to tease or bully an adopted youth. Their comments can be painful. These questions often go right to the heart of adoptees’ self-concept and self-esteem, challenging who they are and where they belong. This may mirror the exact questions that adopted children may be pondering... Continue Reading
Posted: February 19, 2014
Last weekend, the Human Rights Campaign, in partnership with the National Education Association and American Counseling Association, hosted the first-ever “Time to Thrive” conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. The conference brought together hundreds of educators, school administrators, coaches, social workers, mental health providers, and other youth development staff for a conversation about promoting safety, inclusion, and well-being among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.
Since taking office, President Obama and his Administration have taken significant steps to advance equality for the LGBT community – including addressing and preventing bullying and harassment of LGBT young people in classrooms and communities around the country. That’s why I was proud to moderate a panel discussion with colleagues from the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Agriculture to highlight some of the bullying prevention and youth empowerment resources available across the federal government. Continue Reading