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DCPS Creates Advisory Committee to Address Bullying in Schools

Friday, March 16, 2012

DCPS Creates Advisory Committee to Address Bullying in Schools


Today, DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced the formation of an Anti-Bullying Advisory Committee that will meet monthly to address bullying in DC Public Schools.

The committee, which will include about 40 DCPS principals, school-based staff, instructional superintendents, DCPS Central Office staff and community experts, will hold its first meeting March 21 with the purpose of:

  • Identifying the school system’s strengths and limitations in preventing and managing bullying;
  • Reviewing the best practices and research; and
  • Developing a comprehensive framework and plan for our anti-bullying initiatives.

“Not only is bullying an intolerable threat to student safety, it also has collateral consequences,” said Chancellor Henderson. “If students don’t feel safe at school, it creates a barrier to their pursuit of a quality education.”

According to the 2010 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, nearly 10 percent of DCPS high school students reported being bullied on school property in the last 12 months. The number triples to over 27 percent of middle school students who felt bullied in the prior 12 month. Additionally, over 10 percent of students reported being electronically bullied (also known as cyberbullying) in the last 12 months.

“The Anti-Bullying Advisory Committee will help guide our efforts as we seek ways to manage and prevent bullying in our schools,” Chancellor Henderson said. “It’s imperative that we provide clear guidance to principals so they can respond consistently to bullying behaviors and make recommendations for age-appropriate interventions.” 

Similar DCPS committees have had success in identifying solutions to problems that threaten student safety and security in school environments. The school system’s LGBTQ Steering Committee, for example, developed DCPS’ “Plan to Create an Inclusive School Community," in an effort to make our schools safe and inclusive for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) students, staff, and families.

DCPS staff is working with schools to implement the plan, prioritize the school liaison program, hold school staff trainings, and develop policies to give schools guidance in creating safe environments.

Chancellor Henderson announced the creation of the anti-bullying committee during a panel discussion Thursday evening following the screening of “Bully,” a documentary film that tells the stories of students, parents and educators across the country who have dealt with the harsh realities of bullying.

The panel, hosted by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), included MPAA Chairman and CEO Christopher J. Dodd, the former Democratic senator from Connecticut; “Bully” Director Lee Hirsch; Dr. Joseph Wright, senior vice president and head of the Child Health Advocacy Institute at Children’s National Medical Center; and “Bully” Producer Harvey Weinstein.

Contact: Melissa Salmanowitz | 202.535.1096