Anti-Bullying and Anti-Cyberbullying Legislation Friday, March 18, 2011 Panel Discussion Nicole Cardarelli Peggy Farrell Mary Weiler
AFSP Public Policy Statement • The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) supports legislation, regulations and voluntary programs that aim to reduce bullying and cyberbullying.
Bullying and Suicide • Elevated rates of depression, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts have been found in youth who are bullied and also in those who bully others. • Although highly stressful life events such as bullying can trigger suicidal behavior, there are no empirical studies to date that conclusively find bullying as a cause of suicide.
Bullying and Suicide The American Association of Suicidology (AAS) illustrates the “Victimization-Suicidality Pathway”: Pre-existing vulnerability Victimization Invites Depression, Decreased self-esteem, Decreased self-worth, Feelings of Entrapment, Loneliness, Withdrawal, Anxiety, Insomnia, Hopelessness… (New symptoms and/or exacerbations or previous symptoms) Results in Suicidal Ideation Suicide Attempt Death by Suicide Which are risk factors for
Bullying and Suicide • It is important to remember: Bullying does not cause suicide, but it may put youth who are already vulnerable at an increased risk for self-harm.
Federal Response • Anti-Bullying Summit: August 11-12, 2010 • President films video for “It Gets Better” campaign: October 2010 • Dear Colleague Letter: October 26, 2010 • Technical Assistance Memo on State Bullying Policies • White House Conference on Bullying: March 10, 2011 • Website: www.StopBullying.gov
State Anti-Bullying Laws • All but 5 states now have some form of anti-bullying law (state statute) • 32 states include cyberbullying/electronic harassment within their definition of prohibited behavior • Content of laws is extremely diverse: Anti-Bullying Report Card is provided to help navigate each law’s content
State Anti-Bullying Laws • Most state statutes: • Apply to all grade levels (1 does not) • Include a definition of bullying (6 do not) • Include locations where bullying is prohibited (9 do not) • Require school boards to adopt anti-bullying policies • Require policies be publicized to students, parents/guardians, and school staff (4 do not) • Require or encourage educational or training programs for school staff and/or students (7 do not)
State Anti-Bullying Laws • Most state statutes do not: • Include enumerated characteristics (11 do) • Require school boards to review their policies at least biennially (9 do) • Include provisions for school mental health or counseling services or referrals (9 do) • Include provisions for a specific task force, committee, or other independent body to study bullying (8 do) • Make certain funds contingent upon compliance with the anti-bullying law (10 do)
Anti-Bullying LawWorking with Legislators Draft Legislation North Dakota Legislature 2011
Small Community Experiences Loss • Bullying suspected as one reason for Cooperstown girl’s suicide • Media, Community & Family Response
Reaching Out • Reaching out to the Media • Reaching out to the School • Reaching out to the Family
ND Anti-Bullying Law • Working with Community • Working with Parent Groups • Working with Legislators
Anti-Bullying Bills • Attorney General’s Office • House Bill – HB 1465 • Senate Bill – SB 2167
Anti-Bullying Bills • House Committee Hearing Do Pass • Senate Education Committee Do Pass
Anti-Bullying Bills • Awaits House Education Committee Hearing – March 2011 • Conference Committee - final language – March 2011
New NJ Anti-Bullying Law • Appears to be most one of (if not the) most comprehensive in the country • Signed into law on 1/5/2011 • Revises and supplements the state’s previous law on harassment, intimidation and bullying in schools • Contains a number of recommendations made by the New Jersey Commission on Bullying in Schools.
Anti-Bullying in New Jersey Schools • Current activities being done within schools to combat bullying • School response to new law
Questions or Comments? Thank you!