Local: Education

Gray to announce anti-bullying plan

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Local,DC,Education,Lisa Gartner

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray is planning to announce a city-wide taskforce and other measures to combat bullying on Wednesday evening.

Hailed as a first, the "Anti-Bullying Action Plan" is to be led by the city's Office of Human Rights. The four stages of the plan include the creation of a task force; the commission of a research report; the creation of a "model policy and standards"; and a forum on bullying for D.C. agencies.

Members of the task force include D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson and  Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier. The directors of the mayor's office on LGBT affairs, the parks department, and the health department also will make up the 14-person committee.

The mayor is set to announce the anti-bullying plan at E Street Cinema on Wednesday, before a private screening of the documentary "Bully." The screening will be followed by a panel of experts and DCPS's director of health and wellness, Diana Bruce, as well as two youth mayors.

Bullying remains a major problem in District schools, as detailed in an October article in The Washington Examiner.

At every DCPS middle school, at least 60 percent of students said they are "made fun of for the way they look or talk" often or sometimes, according to student surveys from last school year.

More than half of students at every stand-alone middle school said fights occurred "often" or "sometimes"— Eliot Hine and Shaw topped out at 81 and 80 percent, respectively.

At Woodrow Wilson Senior High, 85 percent of students said students damaged or stole other students' property at least sometimes. At Ballou, 73 percent said students were teased for the way they looked or acted often or sometimes.

The District and Montana are the only "states" without anti-bullying laws. The Bullying and Intimidation Prevention Act was introduced in January 2011, but never acted on by the D.C. Council.

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Lisa Gartner

Examiner Staff Writer - education
The Washington Examiner