October 8th, 2010

A Federal Anti-Bullying Bill Coming

One of the two U.S. Senators from New Jersey, Frank Lautenberg (D), has promised to act on the Tyler Clementi suicide at Rutgers University. He will introduce a bill in November requiring colleges and universities that receive federal student aid to adopt a code of conduct that prohibits bullying and harassment of students, and to have in place a policy to deal with complaints and incidents of harassment. The schools would be required to recognize cyberbullying as a form of harassment. The bill would also provide funding for schools to establish programs to deter harassment of students, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) college students. You can read his announcement. This response will be met with predictable hand wringing by bully apologists and those who denigrate people driven to suicide (Bazelon at Slate, Newsweek, et al.). The truth is that without a push for doing the right thing via threat of litigation, good people die while waiting for voluntary institutional action that never comes.


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This entry was posted on Friday, October 8th, 2010 at 1:04 pm and is filed under Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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  1. Sandy Goodwick says:

    Not good enough. This proposed law needs to ALSO include EVERYONE at any university recieving federal funds – not just students, but employees as well. Perhaps people will take bullying and its’ consequences more seriously when they also address it in their own back yards.

    What about the employee at a public university (in Virginia?) who took his own life? He also went through bullying, and despite repeated cries for help via Human Resources …. all was apparently ignored. I think he contacted HR maybe 19 times during preceding weeks. They did *nothing*

    Bullying is an equal opportunity destroyer.

  2. b essagof says:

    What about elementary, middle and high school bullying? Laws are desperately needed there. Maybe if we stop it earlier “adult” will know better.

  3. Marv says:

    Bullying laws are not required, never have been. Bullying should be handled by laws in place (assault and threats are already illegal). The problem is that bullying is in the eye of the person being bullied. These types of laws cause a lot of unintended consequences.

    A certain amount of bullying is unavoidable with children, passing a law will not change that. In a lot of cases it is beneficial in that the person being bullied develops a thicker skin and the bullier learns what is not acceptable. Any sort of physical altercation is currently punished (or should be), so these laws extend to the verbal/emotional. I recall from my youth, Sticks and Stones…… Good advice then, good advice now.

    • Dr. Gary Namie says:

      Marv, Finish the dittie … but words cannot hurt. Too bad there is overwhelming evidence that the human psyche is much more fragile than observers believe. The saying might have sounded good back then, but it was wrong advice then and even moreso now that we know better. Laws can only encourage employers to do what they should be doing voluntarily.

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