Obama administration launches anti-bullying initiative

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by CYNTHIA VEGA

WFAA

Posted on October 26, 2010 at 11:02 AM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 26 at 11:41 AM

DALLAS - Schools and college campuses nationwide are being warned that failing to properly address bullying could be a violation of federal anti-discrimination laws.

The warning came in the form of a letter issued by the US Department of Education.

President Obama is backing the campaign which is being launched today.

It is a direct aim at schools, warning them you've got to be held accountable.

At the same time, it's a response to the high-profile bullying cases that we've been hearing about recently, some of which have turned deadly.

Here in Texas, in Cyprus, 13-year-old Asher Brown took his own life after his mother says he was literally bullied to death, picked on for his small size, his religion and for the fact he didn't wear designer clothes.

This new federal initiative reminds schools in this case it may well have been that fellow students were committing a civil rights violation through harassment.

The initiative outlines how school leaders can put a stop to it, saying reprimanding perpetrators is not enough.

Schools must also go on to eliminate the hostile environment immediately.

This initiative spells out some ways to do that, which includes counseling perpetrators, publicly labeling incidents as harassment, and publicizing how students can go on to report harassment.

As the President reminds all of us, bullying is not a right of passage.

Too often we are seeing it is actually turning deadly on our school campuses.

E-mail: cvega@wfaa.com

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