Before the internet, bullying ended when students left the classroom and returned to the sanctuary of home. These days students are constantly connected whether on a smartphone, tablet or computer, making them prime targets for internet bullying. Increasingly, students have been targeted by bullies because of their religion, race or other biases.
Religious Bullying On the Rise
Since the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris, there has been a surge in anti-Muslim sentiment. According to a report released in 2015, more than half of Muslim students were bullied based on their religious identity. The good news is that the U.S. Government has taken steps to put an end to religious bullying once and for all by requiring schools to report and track any incidents of bullying tied to religious beliefs via an online data collection platform.
The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has created a new website with information about a student’s legal rights in regards to religious bullying and updated its online complaint form for increased clarity. "Students of all religions should feel safe, welcome and valued in our nation's schools," said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Catherine E. Lhamon. "We will continue to work with schools and communities to stop discrimination and harassment so that all students have an equal opportunity to participate in school no matter who they are, where they come from or which faith, if any, they subscribe to."
Taking Steps Toward Tolerance for All
Your school’s HIB (harassment, intimidation, and bullying) policies are likely working to great effect, but now is a great chance to frame a conversation around religious tolerance in school assemblies or the student handbook. If it’s been a while, remind students how to report bullying incidents offline and online, and encourage them to do so. Give your PLCs an opportunity to digest the DOE’s resources and brainstorm ways to engage students. If you haven’t seen some of the Tolerance PSA projects that students have posted on YouTube, check them out!
For logistics, schools that use OnCourse Discipline Tracker can further supplement anti-bullying efforts by sending you alerts when incidents occur and providing secure, electronic tracking of bullying victims for consistent reporting. Student behavior profiles collect all incidents over the years to provide you and other school staff with a full picture of student history.
Schools that use OnCourse Discipline Tracker can further supplement anti-bullying efforts by sending you alerts when incidents occur and providing secure, electronic tracking of bullying victims for consistent reporting. Student behavior profiles collect all incidents over the years to provide you and other school staff with a full picture of student history.
The portal offers parents clear visibility into any student activities and auto-generates letters when incidents occur or disciplinary action is taken. Also, the mobile app allows you to log incidents from any location, whether you’re at home, school or on-the-go. Keeping children safe while promoting diversity and creating a more inclusive school environment is the goal.