Four Frequently Asked Questions About Bullying
Have you experienced bullying in your high school or at your college or university? Under Title IX, you have a right not to be bullied and your school must protect you by preventing the bullying harassment and stopping any harassment that does occur. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about bullying.
1. What is Bullying?
There’s not one single definition of “bullying.” Bullying may be physical (hitting, kicking, spitting, pushing), verbal (taunting, teasing, name calling, threatening), or psychological (spreading rumors, manipulating social relationships, or leaving you out of social activities). Although definitions of bullying vary, most agree that bullying involves:
- An Imbalance of Power. People who bully use their power to control or harm and their victims may have a difficult time defending themselves.
- Intent to Cause Harm. Actions done by accident are not bullying. The bully has a goal to harm you, a loved one or someone that you know.
- Repetition. Incidents of bullying happen to the same person over and over by the same person or group.
2. What is Cyber Bullying?
Cyber bullying refers to electronic bullying through e-mails, instant messaging, cell phones, web pages, blogs, chat rooms, Facebook, Myspace or other information communication technologies. Unlike traditional bullying:
- Cyber bullying is not done face-to-face but rather through technological tools, often leaving you wondering who the bully is.
- The accessibility of electronics and Internet allows a bully to bother their victims anywhere, including at school or at home, and anytime of the day or night.
3. What Is Your School Required To Do If You Are Bullied?
An anti-bullying policy does not mean your school’s work is done. Even if it has policies in place that prohibit bullying and harassment, your school is responsible for investigating, ending, and preventing harassment. Each school district is required, by law, to have policies and practices in place as well as designated individuals to handle complaints. In the state of Connecticut, there’s an anti-bullying statute, in addition to federal law, that must be applied to protect you from bullying and harassment. An experienced Title IX attorney can explain how these different laws can be applied to protect you.
4. What if You Are Bullied Based Upon Sexual Orientation or Identity?
According to a 2013 biennial national survey by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) about LGBT students’ experiences:
- 71% heard “gay” being used in a negative way, which made 91% of them feel distressed.
- 33% heard anti-transgender remarks like “tranny” and “he/she.”
- 36% were physically harassed (pushed/shoved) because of their sexual orientation; 23% because of their gender expression.
- 49% were targets for cyberbullying (harassment over texting, social media like Facebook, etc.).
- 32% transgendered students were prevented from wearing clothing that matched their gender identity, 59% couldn’t use a bathroom that matched their gender identity, and 42% couldn’t use their preferred name.
If you’ve been bullied based upon sexual orientation, identity, or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of male or female, Title IX’s sex discrimination prohibition extends to your claims.
Contact National Title IX Attorneys
If you have been bullied or harassed at school or at a school-sponsored event, call the experienced Title IX attorneys at Duffy Law as soon as possible to discuss your situation. You can reach them by calling 203-946-2000.