Bullying as a Civil Rights Violation: The U.S. Department of Education's Approach to Harassment
Engage, Volume 12, Issue 2, September 2011
August 10, 2011Kenneth L. Marcus
The Obama Administration recently mounted a high-profile campaign against bullying in public schools, staging a White House conference on bullying prevention, featuring the President and first lady; creating a White House anti-bullying website, stopbullying.gov; and issuing new regulatory guidance ostensibly to combat this problem. The administrative core of the campaign has been a new federal bullying policy issued by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) on October 26, 2010. This policy, conveyed in a ten-page “Dear Colleague” guidance letter signed by Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali, has been controversial: supporters have welcomed new protections for minority victims of this social problem, while critics have argued that the Obama Administration has effectively created a new right unauthorized by Congress...