FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, October 15, 2014
CONTACT: Elliot Imse, Director of Policy and Communications – 202.481.3773; [email protected]
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The vast majority of District students attend schools with anti-bullying policies that meet requirements in the Youth Bullying Prevention Act of 2012, according to the first assessment report prepared for the Office of Human Rights (OHR) Citywide Bullying Prevention Program. Ninety-three percent of District Public Charter Schools providers and the DC Public Schools (DCPS) system submitted anti-bullying policies to OHR in the last year. The policies at more than 70 percent of charter schools and the DCPS system were found to have met all requirements in the Act.
“Our Citywide Bullying Prevention Program team and partners worked extraordinarily hard to ensure all schools were aware of the need for an anti-bullying policy, and understood the importance of making it meaningful,” said OHR Director Mónica Palacio. “District residents should be proud that our educational institutions take seriously the safety of our youth, and we are excited to continue working with them in implementing best practices.”
The report – prepared by Child Trends and The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights – is accompanied by the launch of an OHR Know Your Policy web portal that allows parents and guardians to quickly locate the anti-bullying policy and point of contact for their child’s school. Additionally, the portal provides similar information for all youth-serving government agencies, which are also required to adopt and implement anti-bullying policies as part of the citywide effort.
“Schools, government agencies and youth-serving grantees adopting anti-bullying policies is an exciting and important first step in our strategy to prevent bullying,” said Citywide Bullying Prevention Program Director Suzanne Greenfield. “But now we are approaching a more challenging phase, which is bringing these policies to life by effectively implementing them with training and education for staff and support from parents, guardians and youth.”
To help engage parents and youth and to celebrate National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, OHR will host “It Takes a District: Tools and Tips for Families to Prevent Bullying” on Saturday, October 18 at Turkey Thicket Recreational Center. The event includes a series of workshops for parents and guardians, youth performances and a resource fair. More information is available at ohr.dc.gov/event/bullying.
OHR will continue to work with schools that have not submitted policies, and schools with policies that do not meet all requirements under the Act. For detailed assessment information by educational institution and to download the report, visit ohr.dc.gov/page/bullyingprevention/reports. The Know Your Policy web portal is available at ohr.dc.gov/page/knowyourpolicy.
About the Citywide Bullying Prevention Program at the Office of Human Rights
The Citywide Youth Bullying Prevention Program – created in June 2013 – aims to reduce incidents of bullying across the District by emphasizing prevention and proper procedures for responding when incidents occur. The program works with youth-serving government agencies, District schools and youth-serving government grantees to ensure bullying prevention policies are adopted and implemented in ways consistent with the best practices adopted by the Youth Bullying Prevention Task Force. The best practices are demonstrated in the Task Force’s District-wide Model Bullying Prevention Policy, released in January of 2013.
About the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights
The District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR) was established to eradicate discrimination, increase equal opportunity and protect human rights for persons who live in or visit the District of Columbia. The agency enforces local and federal human rights laws, including the DC Human Rights Act, by providing a legal process to those who believe they have been discriminated against. OHR also proactively enforces human rights in the District through Director’s Inquiries, which allow it to identify and investigate practices and policies that may be discriminatory.
About Child Trends
Child Trends is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research center that studies children at all stages of development. Its mission is to improve the lives and prospects of children and youth by conducting high-quality research and sharing the resulting knowledge with practitioners and policymakers. Child Trends has more than 120 employees and annual revenue of about $14 million.
About the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights
The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights was founded in 1968 by Robert Kennedy's family and friends as a living memorial to carry forward his vision of a more just and peaceful world. The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit charitable organization.