Bullying and cyber-bullying in the Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, Westport, Fairfield and New Canaan public and private highs schools and middle schools can wreak havoc on a child and their parents if not addressed swiftly and appropriately by school administrators. As parents of millennials know all too well these days, cyber-bullying and harassment in Connecticut high schools do not always end at the last school bell. The bullying and harassment is often extracurricular—spilling over to social media websites and iphone apps like Facebook, SnapChat, Kik and Twitter.
Parents of cyber-bullying victims in Stamford, Greenwich and Darien are often frustrated, as they do not know how to protect their children from cyber-bullying. They often look to the school for assistance, but there still are not clear-cut procedures and penalties in place to protect victims of bullying in Greenwich, Westport and Fairfield high schools. While schools try, they often fail, due to lack of experience and resources. This can be incredibly frustrating for parents, and dangerous for a bullied child, leaving them vulnerable to cyber-bullying in Westport, Fairfield and New Canaan.
But there’s now some hope—as a new federal law is being introduced in Congress that would force most high schools and colleges to take action. Keep reading to learn more…
In September of 2014, Connecticut’s Anti-Defamation League, led by Assistant Director Josh Sayles, pushed Congress to enact the Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act. It’s also called the “Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act,” named after the 2010 New Jersey case of Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old Rutgers University student who jumped to his death after allegedly being harassed and cyber-bullied by his roommate. In the wake of this tragedy, this proposed Act would seek to protect all college and university students so that no student would ever have to endure what Tyler allegedly suffered through.
As the top Connecticut bullying and school discipline lawyers have observed, the proposed Act would require all institutions of higher learning to come up with uniform standards and procedures to protect students from bullying and cyber-bullying by other students, or faculty. These required procedures and standards would include a description of programs to prevent bullying, and a description of procedures that students should follow if bullying or cyber-bullying should ever occur. This would provide bullied students, who might otherwise feel helpless and alone, with the tools and procedures to address the harassment with their school and put a stop to the abusive behavior.
The best education lawyers in Connecticut note that the Act would apply to all “institutions of higher learning” that receive government funding. This includes schools that offer college or university-level credits, or credits that are intended to lead to a higher degree. Most promising, this proposed Act would protect students from harassment by other students, faculty, and staff on a wide variety of platforms. Students would be protected from harassment on the institution’s campus, in non-campus buildings, and on public property through the use of electronic mail addresses issued by the institution through the use of computers and networks owned and operating by the college, university or educational institution.
Presently, institutions of higher education are not required by the law to enact procedures and standards to prevent bullying. This can leave young adult students, who may be right out of high school, feeling vulnerable and unprotected from harassment by their classmates without the sense of security of being in your own home. By adopting this Act and making it into law, Congress now has the chance do help solve the problem. Let’s hope they do.
Presently in Connecticut, state law requires each local board of education to have policies and practices in place to handle complaints by students and parents in the event bullying or harassment occurs. But there are no statewide uniform procedures or remedies. These policies and practices are also known as Safe School Climate Plans. These plans include methods to prevent bullying as well as intervention strategies when bullying does take place, such as referrals to a school counselor (or other school mental health service) for the bullied child. These plans must be reported to the State Department of Education before they can be enacted in schools.
In January 2015, a bill was proposed that would require Connecticut’s Department of Education to develop uniform procedures for addressing bullying in all schools and would create uniform standards for protecting students who are the victims of school bullying (Proposed Bill No. 90).
The school discipline and bullying lawyers at Mark Sherman Law regularly work with families whose children have been the victims of bullying and cyber-bullying in Stamford, New Canaan, Fairfield and Greenwich Connecticut. As a member of the Connecticut Anti-Defamation League’s Civil Rights Committee, Attorney Sherman has been actively working with his ADL colleagues in lobbying for anti-bullying and anti-cyber-bullying initiatives in Connecticut, and advocating for uniform standards statewide. So if your child is the victim of bullying in Wilton, Stamford, Greenwich, or Darien Connecticut, contact a bullying lawyer at Mark Sherman Law today for a consultation. We will fight for your child and push their school to conduct a thorough and fair investigation. And if necessary, we will also hold the bullies, or the school system itself, accountable for misconduct or failure to act appropriately. Call us today at (203) 358-4700.