ALL STUDENTS HAVE A RIGHT to learn in a safe, supportive school environment that is free of violence, as well as the bullying, intimidation and harassment that can lead to outbreaks of violence.
Research has begun to draw a firm connection between acts of bullying and high-profile acts of violence, such as the 1999 shootings in Littleton, Colorado. Perpetrators of violent crimes at schools have indicated they were motivated by revenge against those who had bullied and tormented them for years.
The pervasiveness and impacts of bullying have been underestimated. To shed more light on the problem, and provide solutions, Governor Gary Locke, Attorney General Christine Gregoire and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson have joined forces to protect our children's safety and ensure that schools are places of learning, free from the threat of violence.
Traditionally, "bullying" has not been taken seriously. Too often, acts of bullying have been ignored with comments like "boys will be boys," or that kids picking on each other is "just part of growing up." Research shows, however, that bullying is widespread and that there can be serious consequences when children are bullied because of their appearance, race, ethnic background, disabilities or sexual orientation. It also shows that intervention can be effective. For example:
|"Bullying is a range of behaviors, both verbal and physical, that intimidate others and often lead to antisocial and unlawful acts. Bullying should neither be thought of as a 'kids will be kids' occurrence nor accepted as a way of life." International Association of Chiefs of Police, Guide for Preventing and Responding to School Violence|
There is no single answer to this problem. Legislation alone will not stop every bully from physically or verbally tormenting a peer. However, this common-sense legislation is an important first-step toward bringing bullying out of the shadows of school hallways and playgrounds and establishing its prominence as a threat to the safety of our children.
The anti-bullying bill supported by the Governor, Attorney General and Superintendent of Public Instruction proposes to:
Dick Van Wagenen, Office of the Governor
Phone: (360) 902-0651
Fax: (360) 586-8380