Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

Discriminatory Harassment on the Rise in Schools

Posted by Rachael Ballard Filed under: General

Bullying has long been an issue in classrooms, but what about discriminatory harassment? A recent survey sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project sheds light on the issue of post-election harassment in schools. Answered by approximately 10,000 educators, the survey found that 90% of educators felt their school climate was negatively affected by the election and 40% said they heard derogatory language used against students of color, Muslims, immigrants and other students based on gender or sexual orientation. CNN reported about the survey, as well as specific acts of harassment and other safety considerations here.

So how can your district cope with incidents of discriminatory harassment? PublicSchoolWORKS’ “Discriminatory Harassment — Identification and Response for Educators” staff training course defines eight types of peer harassment; explores how peer discrimination is different from bullying; and defines how school employees should identify, respond to and intervene if there are instances of harassment. The course also summarizes three legal requirements and considerations for districts and shares valuable resources from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.

Once teachers are trained to identify it, districts should provide a way to effectively report any incidents of discriminatory harassment. Similar to the Student Bullying Reporting System, the StudentWatch Suite’s Student Safety Reporting System equips staff, students and families with a way to report incidents concerning student safety, such as discriminatory harassment. Once a report is submitted via telephone or online, designated administrators are emailed immediately to investigate the report. This helps ensure all reports are investigated and that nothing falls through the cracks. The system also comes with a crisis hotline to provide students with immediate crisis prevention resources and a built-in urgent response call tree should an administrator need to be reached after hours. Pairing staff training with reporting mechanisms helps districts track trends and intervene to better ensure a positive school environment.

To learn more about how your district can deploy the Discriminatory Harassment staff training course and the Student Safety Reporting System, contact us today.

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