At today's Dallas Independent School District board briefing, trustees will yet again discuss that "comprehensive" bullying policy about which we wrote last month. Turns out, on the Dallas City Council's meeting agenda for Wednesday is a related resolution sent to City Manager Mary Suhm last week, signed by, among others, Dwaine Caraway, Angela Hunt, Pauline Medrano and Carolyn Davis. Long story short, says the agenda, the council members have put before their colleagues:
Resolution that states that bullying, harassment, and intimidation in schools in the city of Dallas is condemned and that this resolution take effect immediately with the passage in accordance with the Charter of the city of Dallas.
As you no doubt recall, following the initial Unfair Park item, Resource Center Dallas called upon the district to include protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students. The council members' lengthy resolution, which follows on the other side, does indeed call for "the need for intervention, with children and youth with disabilities and children and youth who are lesbian, gay, or trans-gender, or who are perceived to be so, being at particularly high risk of being bullied by their peers."
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WHEREAS, school bullying, harassment, and intimidation greatly reduce students' abilities to both achieve and surpass academic standards in public and private schools in the City of Dallas; and
WHEREAS, school bullying, harassment, and intimidation can directly affect a student's health and well-being and thus contribute to excess absences from school, physical sickness, mental and emotional anguish, and long-term social and mental consequences; and
WHEREAS, school bullying, harassment, and intimidation can take many physical, verbal, and written forms, including physical bullying; teasing or name-calling; social exclusion; peer sexual harassment; bullying about race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity; and cyber bullying (bullying through email, text messaging, or other digital means); and
WHEREAS, it is long past time for not only society, but also for each community in the City, down to the individual school, to acknowledge that bullying is not some sort of rite of passage to be simply ignored or tolerated; and
WHEREAS, incidents of reported school-related bullying in the City and throughout the nation are ample evidence of the need for intervention, with children and youth with disabilities and children and youth who are lesbian, gay, or trans-gender, or who are perceived to be so, being at particularly high risk of being bullied by their peers; and
WHEREAS, many bullies eventually end up with criminal records and are involved in abusive relationships because they have not learned appropriate social behavior; and
WHEREAS, public and private schools seek to provide a healthy, positive, and safe learning atmosphere for all children; and
WHEREAS, numerous bullying prevention programs, curricula, and strategies have been developed in recent years for use in schools and research indicates that bullying at school may be significantly reduced through comprehensive, school-wide programs that are designed to change norms for behavior; and
WHEREAS, many schools across the region are already engaged in prevention efforts; and
WHEREAS, these programs emphasize assessment of the prevalence of bullying incidents and preventive, early intervention strategies; and
WHEREAS, with the help of local school boards, private schools, school personnel, parents, and concerned individuals, school bullying can be effectively addressed; and
WHEREAS, the City Council affirms the City's commitment to equality and freedom from discrimination and violence for all of its residents; Now, Therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF DALLAS:
Section 1. That bullying, harassment, and intimidation in schools in the City is condemned.
Section 2. That schools that serve the children of the City and concerned parents are urged to work together to further define and understand the multiple aspects of bullying and effectively use systems for reporting school-related bullying incidents.
Section 3. That schools that serve these children and concerned parents are called upon to respond to school-related bullying incidents by implementing programs where victims of bullying can be identified and assisted, and perpetrators educated, in order to create safer schools that provide a positive learning environment.
Section 4. That schools, concerned parents, and all other concerned groups are encouraged to come together to form a coalition whose goal would be to bring about, through education and other means, the end of bullying, harassment, and intimidation in schools in the City.
Section 5. That this resolution shall take effect immediately from and after its passage in accordance with the Charter of the City of Dallas, and it is accordingly so resolved.