IMG_9978Nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of New York City’s students and educators.

Today, City schools are the safest they have ever been. Suspensions are down 34% over the past five years, more teachers and staff members are utilizing restorative justice and collaborative negotiation practices, and students have better access to mental health and counseling services at the school level.

Now it’s time to build on this progress.

This week, Chancellor Fariña announced that the Department of Education has launched new anti-bullying initiatives and reforms that will improve communication between schools and families and help ensure that schools continue to provide safe and inclusive learning environments for their students.

These new measures include:

  • A New Way for Families to Report Bullying: Launching in 2019, the Bullying Complaint Portal will be an easy-to-use online tool for families to report any incidents of student discrimination, harassment, intimidation and/or bullying that takes place in our schools. Families who report an incident will receive an electronic receipt within one school day that acknowledges that their complaint was received by the DOE. Once a complaint is filed, the DOE will have 10 days to follow up with an official report of their investigation.
  • Mental Health First Aid Training and Community Workshops: Families, community members, staff members and students will be provided with Mental Health First Aid training and workshops on bullying prevention and reduction. The Mental Health First Aid trainings will cover the five-step action plan for assessing, identifying and offering assistance to students in crisis. There will also be anti-bullying workshops that focus on restorative practices, LGBTQ support, cyberbullying, and religious tolerance.
  • Anti-bias and anti-bullying training for staff: In January 2018, the DOE will offer Kognito training — web-based anti-bias interactive training — for all school-based employees. Additionally, parent coordinators will receive targeted training from the Family and Community Engagement Office (FACE) that will help them create supportive school environments, identify bullying behaviors, and support those involved in bullying.
  • Increased protection from bullying for students: The DOE will require schools to develop individual student action plans to address instances when there are several substantiated claims of bullying against the same student. Students who experience one or more incidents of bullying or harassment will be eligible to receive a transfer.
  • Funding for student-led clubs: The City is dedicating $1 million to support the establishment of student groups, including Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSAs) and Respect For All clubs. Middle schools and high schools who are interested in establishing new student groups will be able to apply to receive some of this funding.
  • Targeted support for 300 schools: Schools with high bullying rates will receive targeted social-emotional support to train staff members and support students. Programs for these schools will focus on self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making.

These initiatives are the result of input we received from parent leaders across the five boroughs. The DOE will be working in close partnership with the New York Police Department and other City agencies to ensure the success of these initiatives.

To learn more about these anti-bullying program reforms, please visit our website.

Likewise, to view the DOE’s official policy prohibiting bullying and harassment in City schools, check out Chancellor’s Regulation A-832 on our website.

Finally, if you have any information regarding any bullying or harassment that is taking place in City schools, please email RespectForAll@schools.nyc.gov or speak with a school staff member.

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Posted by The Morning Bell

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