According to the initiative’s organizers, “The regulation also requires each school to create an annual plan to ensure that it has a safe and supportive learning environment and it establishes that schools must train students in the new regulations, so that they understand what behaviors constitute bias-based harassment and where to go for help if they believe they have been subjected to prohibited behavior by bullies. Under the new regulation, schools will report all complaints of harassment, intimidation, or bullying within 24 hours. They will also conduct full investigations, including interviews and written statements. In addition, the regulation requires staff members who either witness or are told about incidents to report them—and it says schools must contact the families of accused students. The DOE will also work with schools to take appropriate follow-up steps after incidents. This could include sending students to counseling, helping schools to train staff, or intervening to protect the safety of alleged victims.”
Said Speaker Christine C. Quinn: “It is unacceptable for any student to feel unsafe in his or her own school, or be denied their right to a high quality education because they have to endure the emotional distress of discrimination or the physical torment of hazing,taunting, and bullying. These new regulations combined with the Respect for All Initiative will go a long way in ensuring that school officials and young people are appropriately informed and trained and that we are accurately tracking incidents of harassment as they occur. These uniform requirements will provide our students with the security of knowing that they have access to any help and support they need as the new school year begins.”
Respect For All is a training program for school staff that prepares teachers, guidance counselors, and others to identify and address bullying, harassment, and intimidation.