Today, the United States and the broader international community face a range of difficult issues and concerns as our global population becomes increasingly connected and diverse. Leaders at home and abroad are challenged to think critically and strategically about how best to address and protect the rights of all people, especially those from historically underrepresented groups. Individuals across the nation have both the opportunity and responsibility to create environments that uphold our shared values of inclusivity and tolerance of others.
The U.S. Department of Education is committed to maintaining safe, respectful and nondiscriminatory environments, particularly in schools and learning environments. It is critical for school and district leaders to feel supported and prepared to handle incidents and behaviors that may disrupt the emotional and physical safety of all students and staff. The following list of resources provides guidance and support for teachers and school leaders who wish to implement strategies that ensure students are not subjected to discrimination or harassment based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, or national origin.
The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces several Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance:
- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits disability discrimination by public entities, whether or not they receive federal financial assistance.
- Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.
The Bullying, Harassment, & Civil Rights Video helps schools, parents, and others who interact with children understand the differences between harassment and bullying, and their legal obligations with respect to both.
The following resources are designed to address the needs of populations that are vulnerable to actual or threatened instances of bullying, harassment, and discrimination.
- Teaching Tolerance offers a lesson plan, Bullied: A Student, a School and a Case That Made History that includes a film about bullying based on sexual orientation. Teachers can order the movie for free.
- Tanenbaum Combating Religious Prejudice Education Workshops & Training provides interactive training for educators various of topics related to teaching students concrete skills for living in a diverse, pluralistic, and democratic society. The training content is both for elementary and secondary school educators.
- The Council on American-Islamic Relations has developed a number of resources to address Islamophobia in schools and communities.
- Mislabeled: The Impact of School Bullying and Discrimination on California Muslim Students provides context on the socio-political climate in which American Muslims attend school. Specifically, it discusses how Islamophobia, the fear or hatred of Islam and Muslims, in larger society filters into the school environment and manifests as teacher discrimination and student bullying.
- Bullying Prevention Guide features a bullying prevention guide for schools, focusing on the prevalence of bullying in general and specifically among Muslim students and bullying occurring in Muslim schools.
- Combatting Religious Discrimination Today describes the findings from “Combating Religious Discrimination Today,” a community engagement initiative designed to promote religious freedom and challenge religious discrimination.
- The Migration Policy Institute has published the Educational, Psychological and Social Impact of Discrimination on the Immigrant Child focusing on incidents of direct discrimination, as perceived and noticed by the child—incidents with identifiable educational, psychological, physical, and social repercussions. The report presents recommendations on how to prevent these negative interactions, through anti-bullying policies, communicating effectively with immigrant families, and carefully evaluating services targeting immigrant children.
- StopBullying.gov is a Website that provides information on what bullying is, what cyberbullying is, who is at risk, and how you can prevent and respond to bullying.
- Preventing Bullying through Science, Policy, and Practice is a book (free to download) describing what is known and what needs to be known to reduce bullying behavior and its consequences according to experts.
- Be More Than a Bystander is an interactive module on Stopbullying.gov that allows users to navigate through a virtual hallway and explore different scenarios of school-based bullying and harassment. Each scenario links to videos on YouTube, including videos featuring high school students. Stopbullying.gov also maintains a video gallery with additional resources. A sampling of these videos is provided below:
- Creating a Safe and Respectful Environment in Our Nation’s Classrooms and Creating a Safe and Respectful Environment on Our Nation's School Buses are training toolkits, developed by the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE), which include two modules to address bullying in classrooms and on school buses. The toolkits are designed to assist schools in cultivating meaningful relationships with students while creating positive school climates.
- The Role of Technology in Youth Harassment Victimization is a recently published bulletin that discusses key findings in research on technology-involved harassment.
- Find other resources on NCSSLE’s Bullying/Cyberbullying topic webpage.
- Safeguarding Our Children: An Action Guide helps schools develop and implement a comprehensive violence prevention plan grounded in the principles of the Early Warning Guide, which includes addressing intolerance for differences and prejudicial attitudes.
- Best Practices of Youth Violence Prevention: A Sourcebook for Community Action looks at the effectiveness of specific violence prevention practices in four key areas: parents and families; home visiting; social and conflict resolution skills; and mentoring.
- Preventing Youth Violence: Opportunities for Action provides information, evidence-based strategies, and action steps to help community leaders and members, public health professionals, families, and young people reduce or prevent youth violence.
- Find other resources on NCSSLE’s Physical and Emotional Safety Webpages.
- The Young Adults webpage on the StopBullying.gov Website defines bullying as it relates to young adults, describes how young adults can get help, and provides additional resources.
- Bullying and Cyberbullying at Colleges and Universities contains bullying prevention resources and materials. The document discusses the various forms of bullying – verbal (name-calling, teasing), social (spreading rumors, leaving people out on purpose, breaking up friendships), physical (hitting, punching, shoving), and cyberbullying (using the Internet, mobile telephones, or other digital technologies to harm others) – and describes preventative interventions.
- Introducing the Culture of Respect Collective: Helping Colleges End Sexual Violence on Campus provides an overview of the most fundamental points that all student affairs and many other education professionals need to know about how gender-based violence in educational institutions manifests and how to address the many aspects of that violence in a way that both complies and moves beyond compliance with applicable law.
- Preventing Violence and Promoting Safety in Higher Education Settings: Overview of a Comprehensive Approach reviews the scope of campus violence problems; describes the wide array of factors that cause and contribute to violence; outlines a comprehensive approach to reducing violence and promoting safety on campus; and lists specific recommendations that administrators, students, faculty, staff, and community members can follow to review and improve their policies and strengthen their programs and services.