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Public Justice’s National Anti-Bullying Campaign

April 3, 2013

Bullying of children is devastating. It hurts, it traumatizes and it sometimes even kills.

All of us have heard about the children and teens who have committed suicide because of bullying. The short- and long-term psychological damage bullying causes can be highly destructive. Far too often, schools are not doing what the law requires to address and stop bullying. Complacency is not the answer.  Bullying needs to be treated as the serious problem it is, not as a rite of passage to be left alone and endured.

We support the well-respected national organization, Public Justice, in its launch of an Anti-Bullying Campaign. They intend to enforce the law, protect our nation’s children, and hold school districts and officials accountable for failing to properly respond to bullying.

Forty-nine states have laws requiring schools to take appropriate action to address and prevent bullying. And federal laws do not permit schools to turn a blind eye to severe and pervasive harassment based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or disability. But half of our school officials and teachers have never received training on how to respond to bullying. And eight out of every ten times a kid gets bullied at school, no adult intervenes.

Public Justice plans to change that. Their Anti-Bullying Campaign is already prosecuting two important cases. In one, their litigation team represents five Jewish students who endured vicious anti-Semitic bullying for years in a school district seventy-five miles north of New York City. They were regularly taunted with anti-Semitic slurs and “jokes” about the Holocaust, confronted with swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti, and hit with coins. They were threatened and beaten. One child was held down while a swastika was drawn on her face. Repeated complaints were made to school officials and nothing was done.

In the other case, Public Justice’s litigation team represents four boys in a school district near Chicago who were subjected to a grotesque hazing ritual when they made the varsity soccer or baseball team: they were pinned to the ground, beaten, and sodomized with sticks and other objects by veteran team members. All of this appears to have been directed and observed by the team’s coaches. School officials apparently knew about the abuse for years, but did nothing to stop it.

In addition to seeking damages in both cases, Public Justice’s legal team is insisting on systemic changes aimed at stopping future bullying and abuse. Stop Bullying Compensating bullying victims isn’t enough. Schools need to follow the law—and the bullying has to stop.

If you are involved in, know of, or learn of a school bullying case in which Public Justice can have an impact, please don’t hesitate to contact the law firm of Oliveri & Schwartz, P.C. We will try to help you, and if appropriate, we will put you in touch with the lead attorneys involved in Public Justice’s Anti-Bullying Campaign. Real action and meaningful results are long overdue. Working together, we can all make a difference.

Our consultations are always free of charge, and without obligation. The toll-free phone number for Oliveri & Schwartz, P.C. is 800 427 9546.

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