How Does Your School District Score on Bullying and Harassment?

July 15, 2013

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) collects useful data for holding school districts accountable on harassment, bullying, and equity in educational programs. The data is about to become even more useful as the department recently announced that it intends to start asking schools to report how many students were bullied because of sexual orientation. In the past, AAUW used the data to urge 10 of the largest school districts in the nation to correct their reported zero sexual harassment cases, a figure that contradicts logic and research. Parents, students, teachers, and administrators can use the same data to start discussions and make positive changes in their communities.

A woman and a girl stand together holding anti-bullying signs.

Image by theMatthewBlack, Flickr Creative Commons

I attended high school in the Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, area, so I checked out the results of neighboring Woodridge High School. The results were shocking. A basic search found that Woodridge High School’s student body is 78 percent white, 18.9 percent black, and 1.5 percent each Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander. However, 100 percent of the school’s expulsions were black students. I was also surprised to see that the school’s calculus and physics classes are made up of 100 percent white students.

Woodridge’s profile also showed that the school district had just one reported allegation of harassment and bullying in the 2009–10 school year, and that was on the basis of sex. That means zero incidents of harassment were reported based on race or disability. AAUW’s Crossing the Line report found that nearly half of the students surveyed experienced some form of sexual harassment in the 2010–11 school year. Though it is possible that no instances of bullying occur in some schools, it is also possible that school officials are not reporting accurate data about what goes on at school. Awareness and action are the only ways we can improve school climate.

The database also allows you to compare schools’ bullying and harassment reporting across districts or states.

How to find the latest civil rights report for your school district:

STEP 1: Go to the Office for Civil Rights Data Collection website. Click “2009 district or school reports.”

STEP 2: Enter your school name or district in the corresponding field. Then click “school search.”

You will then be given a full printable profile of your school.

Now that you have this information, you can use the links and graphs provided to find out detailed information about your school! The pie graphs located in the profile illustrate college and career readiness, instances of sexual assault and bullying, and disciplinary actions separated by racial or ethnic group. Look up your school and talk about your findings at your local PTA or school board meeting to encourage school officials to accurately track the data and respond appropriately to discernible trends.

This post was written by AAUW Policy Intern Seaira Christian-Daniels.

By:   |   July 15, 2013

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