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CRS Report on Student Bullying

Student Bullying: Overview of Research, Federal Initiatives, and Legal Issues – Gail McCallion, Specialist in Social Policy; Jody Feder, Legislative Attorney. October 18, 2013

“Many Members of Congress have become increasingly concerned about what can be done to address student bullying. This concern has arisen in response to high-profile bullying incidents that have occurred in recent years, and due to a growing body of research on the negative consequences of school bullying. Congress is interested in ensuring that schools are safe, secure places for students, so that they can receive the full benefits of their education. Several bills that address school bullying have already been introduced in the 113th Congress, although none has been enacted as of the date of this report. Some of the research on anti-bullying programs has found mixed success, particularly in the United States. However, a meta-analysis of 44 evaluations identified particular characteristics of  school-based bullying programs that may help reduce bullying. This study found the intensity and  duration of a program, as well as the number of program elements, to be linked with  effectiveness. Other factors found to be important to effectiveness were parent training, parent meetings, firm disciplinary methods, classroom rules, classroom management, and improved  playground supervision.  Currently, there is no federal statute that explicitly prohibits student bullying or cyber-bullying.  Under some circumstances, however, bullying may be prohibited by certain federal civil rights  laws. In addition, bullying may, in some instances, constitute a violation of state criminal or tort law.”

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