NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED532745
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jun-8
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
School Bullying: Legal Protections for Vulnerable Youth Need to Be More Fully Assessed. Testimony before the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, U.S. Senate. GAO-12-785T
Calbom, Linda M.
US Government Accountability Office
In this statement, the author discusses the results of the work that the members of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions requested on school bullying. It is estimated that millions of American youths have been bullied by their peers, including physical, verbal, and electronic attacks. The author's statement is based on a report released recently, which addresses the following objectives: (1) What is known about the prevalence of school bullying and its effects on victims?; (2) What approaches are selected states and local school districts taking to combat school bullying?; (3) What legal options do the federal and selected state governments have in place when bullying leads to allegations of discrimination?; and (4) How are key federal agencies coordinating their efforts to combat school bullying? To address these objectives, the author and her colleagues reviewed research on the prevalence and effects on victims; analyzed state bullying laws, and school district bullying policies; interviewed officials from the Departments of Education (Education), Health and Human Services (HHS), and Justice, and a nongeneralizable sample of eight states and six school districts; and reviewed selected relevant federal and state civil rights laws. In summary, with regard to the prevalence and effects of bullying, their findings suggest that reported levels of bullying and related effects are significant. Research shows that bullying can have detrimental outcomes for victims, including adverse psychological and behavioral outcomes. Selected states and school districts are taking various approaches to reducing bullying. The bullying laws in the eight states that they reviewed vary in who is covered and the requirements placed on state agencies and school districts. They also found that while federal and state civil rights laws may offer some protections against bullying in certain circumstances, vulnerable groups may not always be covered. Finally, regarding federal coordination efforts to combat bullying, they found that a variety of efforts are under way, but that a full assessment of legal remedies has not been completed. In conclusion, they found that the nature and extent of protections available to students who are bullied depend on the laws and policies where they live or go to school. (Contains 2 footnotes.)
US Government Accountability Office. 441 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20548. Tel: 202-512-6000; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: US Government Accountability Office