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9.10.2008

new rules to combat bias bullying in new york schools

Last week in New York, Michael R. Bloomberg announced new regulations meant to combat bullying based on bias in city schools. The policy is intended to deter intimidation and harassment based on ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability: New School Rules on Bias Bullying.

Every principal will be required to designate a staff member to whom students can report bullying, and schools will be required to report complaints to the Department of Education within 24 hours.

The schools will have to investigate the complaints and contact the families of students accused of bias-based harassment. A report of the complaints, broken down by school, will be made public on the internet at the end of each school year.

The rules were prompted in part by attacks on Sikh students in the last school year. In one of the most serious cases, back in June, a Queens high school student punched a Sikh schoolmate in the face and tried to remove his religiously mandated turban.

In many of these reported instances, school administrators were criticized for failing to respond and follow-up. Hopefully these new rules will put a stop to that. I doubt, however, that this will put a stop to students who just happen to be racist assholes. There seems to be no deterrent for that.