This letter is in response to the article published on Oct. 3, headlined, "Schools Get Help in Bully Battle."
The Department of Education’s latest effort to address bullying and bias-based harassment in the city’s public schools is a commendable step, but it falls short of fully protecting our youth.
The recently announced expansion of the "Respect for All" program requires only a handful of teachers and staff from each school to receive anti-bullying training. For youths to feel safe, regular training must be mandatory for all students, teachers and school staff.
Bias-based harassment must also be prohibited across the board even if it is perpetrated by teachers, staff or police personnel. But the recent changes do not address this loophole.
Finally, Mayor Bloomberg pledged more than a year ago that the Department of Education would regularly report on the number and nature of bias-based incidents in the schools.
We call for the DOE to release the data and commit to this promise in writing, ensuring regular and consistent reporting.
It is encouraging that the DOE and Council Speaker Christine Quinn are committed to developing more effective anti-bullying policies in schools, but more work is needed to ensure our children receive the best possible protection. The City must fully enforce Chancellor’s Regulation A-832 and the Dignity in All Schools Act.
[The writers are affiliated with, respectively, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Make the Road NY, the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, the New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy, the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Sikh Coalition.]