Brooklyn councilmember proposes creating anti-bullying task force for NYC schools

Bullies, meet the anti-bullies.

On Wednesday, Jan. 25, town’s schooling committee held a listening to to debate a invoice launched by Councilmember Rita Joseph (D-Brooklyn) that might create an anti-bullying task force for New York Metropolis schools. 

The task force would comprise of public officers, DOE workers, and consultants in battle decision, bullying prevention, psychological well being, faculty security and schooling. The group can be tasked with growing a plan to fight bullying in schools. 

Within the 2019-20 faculty yr, there have been 10,813 reported bullying and discrimination incidents, together with cyberbullying, throughout NYC public schools, in accordance with New York State Training Division information. The variety of reviews nosedived throughout the next 2020-21 faculty yr, the place solely 3,355 reviews have been collected. However the Nationwide Heart for Training Statistics nonetheless lists pupil bullying as the most important faculty self-discipline subject throughout schools nationwide.

At Wednesday’s listening to, Julianne Huang, a junior at Staten Island Technical Excessive Faculty and pupil advocate with the Coalition for Asian American Kids and Households, defined how the racism she endures at college may not be apparent to others as a result of they’re “jabs that were disguised as jokes.”

“Most bullying is subtle,” Huang stated. “Not loud enough that it’s concerning for teachers to take notice. But enough for students to carry it for themselves for the rest of their adolescence and onwards.”

Huang stated there is just one liaison at her faculty who handles bullying, harassment, and discrimination. However it’s not clear to her what occurs after incidents are reported.

“Simply encouraging students to report is not enough,” Huang stated. “We must assure them that the help and justice will be restored after their vulnerable experiences.”

Hudson Chou, a senior at NYC iSchool in Soho and youth advocate engaged on psychological well being schooling in NYC public schools, stated on the listening to that anti-bullying companies at his faculty are minimal at greatest with two steering counselors for 500 college students engaged on bullying incidents.

“I’ve been a target of micro-aggressions from fellow students at schools and on occasions from teachers,” Chou stated. “I know that my experience is not unique and thousands of other AAPI students in New York City have the same treatment. School staff are unable to recognize and respond to these micro-aggressions.”

Chou stated there will not be sufficient help techniques from faculty directors to help college students’ psychological well being. He believes that an anti-bullying task force might set an ordinary for schools to be accountable in the direction of. He careworn that the task force deal with the right means to ending bullying, with out resorting to punitive punishment.

“The focus on safety should not mean students are punished for wrongdoing,” Chou stated. “We hope the city places a priority on education, restorative justice, and healing.”

There have been a complete of six reviews of bullying and discrimination every filed at Staten Island Technical Excessive Faculty and the NYC iSchool through the 2019-20 faculty yr, in accordance with New York State Training Division information. These numbers elevated by only one report for Staten Island Tech and decreased down to 2 reviews for the iSchool through the 2020-21 faculty yr. 

However microaggressions can nonetheless result in college students feeling displaced and unsafe at their very own schools, stated Sandra Lu, a senior at Brooklyn Technical Excessive Faculty. She added that the definition of bullying has historically positioned emphasis on bodily violence, and ignored emotional and verbal bullying, which might turn out to be commonplace microaggressions.  

As representatives of their coalition, the scholars urged extra city halls and workshops the place college students, lecturers, and directors can focus on their identification and establish microaggressions. 

“Most of the time, microaggressions stem from a gap in knowledge about various cultures or assumptions and stereotypes,” Lu stated. “Because microaggressions may be unintentional and are common, they can be hard to detect.”

College students from New York Metropolis schools in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island testify at Metropolis Council listening to in help of an anti-bullying task force. Picture courtesy of Coalition for Asian American Kids and Households.

The town’s schooling division directed $8 million in 2017 towards enhancements to anti-bullying applications. The allocation funded a bullying grievance portal, amongst different initiatives.

A New York state comptroller audit in 2019, nevertheless, discovered that the NYC DOE has did not adjust to the Dignity for All College students Act, an act that has been in impact since 2012 that ensures a faculty atmosphere with out discrimination and bullying for elementary and secondary faculty college students. The audit famous the dearth of reporting on bullying incidents and information, in addition to vastly differing views on what constitutes as bullying.

Beginning on Feb. 13, NYC DOE will dedicate every week to encourage schools to ascertain anti-bullying initiatives. 

Beneath are methods to report bullying to the NYC DOE:

  • Submit an online form
  • Name 718-935-2288
  • Electronic mail the Workplace of Security and Youth Growth at [email protected]
  • Contact the United Federation of Lecturers Hotline at 212-709-3222, Monday – Friday, 2:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
  • In case your subject entails sexual or gender-based harassment, contact the Title IX coordinator.
  • Report the incident to your faculty’s Respect for All liaison(s) and/or faculty administration.
    • Ask for the incident quantity from faculty administration for comply with up. That is also called On-line Prevalence Reporting System (OORS) quantity.
    • The varsity will examine and should inform the guardian or guardian of the goal what they discover. If wanted, the kid could also be referred for help companies.
    • If the investigation finds {that a} pupil—or college students—have been bullying or harassing your baby, the college will comply with the method described within the Discipline Code.

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