No one should suffer through bullying and harassment. Students have a right to feel safe and welcome when they arrive at school each day. In Washington, school districts have an absolute legal obligation to create and maintain that safe environment.
Every year numerous parents and students contact the ACLU-WA to tell painful stories of harassment and abuse at school. Nearly a third of all students report having experienced harassment or bullying at school.
The problem is even worse for LGBT students. Nine out of ten LGBT students report being harassed at school, and nearly two-thirds say they feel unsafe because of their sexual orientation. Many LGBT students report having skipped school because of safety concerns.
Bullying and Harassment can be any behavior that is written, verbal, electronic, or physical directed at an individual or group based on a characteristic – such as race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, economic status, or appearance – that:
- interferes with a student’s education;
- is severe, persistent, or pervasive;
- disrupts the orderly operation of school;
- or physically harms a student or school property.
What to do About Harassment
If you or someone you know is being bullied or harassed at school, your school has a legal obligation to make it stop and make it better. Taking action may be scary for you, but it really can make a difference.
School Districts in Washington state have a legal obligation to create and maintain a safe learning environment for all students. Bullying and harassment are not an inevitable part of growing up and schools must not tolerate it.
If you work for a school district, there are important things you can do to end harassment.
Responding to Harassment and Bullying
Schools must take prompt and effective action to address incidents of bullying and harassment.
Preventing Harassment and Bullying
Don’t Wait for a Problem to Arise, Take Action Now!