Category Archives for Specific Groups
Posted: June 29, 2016
By the time Landon – a high school student in Massachusetts – entered his freshman year, he had already been in and out of the hospital for multiple suicide attempts. He had been pulled out of school because he wasn’t able to get through the day, and he needed medication to sleep.
Today, Landon is back in school – a vocational school he transferred to as a sophomore, after coming out to friends and family as a transgender boy – and things have gotten a little easier for him. Landon’s new school is committed to treating every student with dignity and respect, and together they have found ways to allow Landon to survive and thrive in his new surroundings. But getting there has taken time, and the path hasn’t always been clear.
In recent months, we’ve heard from a growing chorus of educators, parents, and students around the country about the need for guidance on how schools can successfully support transgender students and non-transgender students in compliance with federal civil rights laws. In fact, just this week, the National Association of Secondary School... Continue Reading
Posted: April 19, 2016
School continues to be a dangerous place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth. A 2014 study by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) found that 65% of LGBT students heard homophobic remarks frequently or often, 56% of LGBT students reported personally experiencing LGBT-related discriminatory policies or practices at school, and 33% of LGBT students were physically harassed (e.g., pushed or shoved) in the past year because of their sexual orientation.
“Despite increased public acceptance of LGBT people in general, many school campuses remain toxic environments for LGBT students, contributing to higher rates of suicide, depression, homelessness and HIV infection,” said Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean.
In 2013, the Los Angeles LGBT Center and Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in coordination with other community... Continue Reading
Posted: February 9, 2016
Not since the days and months immediately after September 11 has the Muslim community faced the level of anti-Muslim bias and bullying that has been seen over the past several months. In the wake of Paris and other terrorist attacks, combined with the emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a lack of information among the public about Islam, and the tendency to associate Islam with terrorism, there has been an increase in expressions and incidents
targeting the Muslim community and those who are perceived to be Muslim, such as members of the Sikh community. There has also been an increased wave of anti-Muslim sentiment in our public discourse, political rhetoric and everyday interactions. Schools have not been immune. Youth have been called, “terrorists” or “ISIS.” There have been... Continue Reading
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