Bullying in school seems almost an inevitable part of coming of age. Youth who are victims of bullying or have bullied others are often hesitant to share their experiences and seek help in healing. But the impact of bullying can last for years, even decades.
At a time when racial and ethnic relations are on edge and ever-more polarizing, and social media posts encourage anonymous cyberbullying, a briefing by Ethnic Media Services examined what’s happening with bullying in schools today, who the prime targets and perpetrators are, and to what extent bullying incubates a culture of hate in the wider society.
Becky Monroe, Deputy Director, of Strategic Initiatives and External Affairs at the California Civil Rights Department shared information on California vs Hate’s resources for victims of acts of hate and their families, and to share clarifying context on different acts of bullying are seen by the law – as while some may not violate the law, they are harmful, and some may be violations of civil rights or other laws.
“California and Federal law require that schools provide all students with a safe, supportive, and inclusive learning environment, free from discrimination and harassment. Schools have a legal obligation to ensure that students are not denied opportunities, treated differently, discriminated against, or harassed because of their race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or disability,” Monroe said.
During the conference, Monroe also referenced a statement from Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization.
“Over the past several months, school board meetings across the country have been turned into arenas for anti-LGBTQ+ political propaganda. Sadly, this is also happening in California where, at last night’s Glendale Unified School Board meeting, an innocent resolution recognizing Pride Month turned into an opportunity for far-right extremist agitators to continue their hate-filled attacks, leading to an outbreak of violence and multiple arrests. It is not a coincidence that this happened on the same day that the Human Rights Campaign declared a national State of Emergency for LGBTQ+ people in response to a flurry of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation introduced and signed across the country, as well as a rising tide of anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment,” said Jorge Reyes Salinas, Equality California.
California anti-bullying laws and regulations include the following definitions of bullying and cyber sexual bullying:
“Bullying” means any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or using an electronic act, and including one or more acts committed by a pupil or group of pupils.
California school districts are required to adopt a policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation, or bullying and procedures for preventing acts of bullying and cyberbullying. School district policies must contain key policy and procedural elements, including, but not limited to: Statements prohibiting harassment, intimidation, or bullying; procedures for reporting and investigations, including timelines for investigating and reporting complaints; publications of anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, anti-intimidation, and anti-bullying laws.
Any victim of or witness to a hate incident or crime in California can report it and receive support any time by reporting online here. You can also call 833-8-NO-HATE; at (833) 866-4283 Monday – Friday from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm. If outside of those hours, you can leave a voicemail, or you can call 211 to report hate and seek support.
You can currently submit reports online in 15 languages and, when calling the hotline, you can get access to support in over 200 languages. Callers will be connected with a professional trained in culturally competent communication and trauma-informed practices.