Written by: Briana Judd, MS, BCBA, LBA
What is bullying? According to stopbullying.gov, “Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children. It involves a real or perceived power imbalance and the behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time,” (Stopbullying.gov, n.d.).
Studies in the United States indicate that children diagnosed with disabilities are more likely to be bullied then peers without disabilities (PACER National Bullying Prevention Center, n.d.). Bullying is not condoned according to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). Bullying must be investigated per Section 504 and Title II of the Rehabilitation Act (U.S. Department of Education, n.d.).
Some resources to assist individuals experiencing bullying include:
- The PACER National Bullying Prevention Center website at https://www.pacer.org/bullying/. This website offers several resources. For example, self-advocacy resources can be found here. The self-advocacy resources offered on this website help a student and parent identify occurrences of bullying and build a plan to prevent bullying. See https://www.pacer.org/publications/bullypdf/BP-25.pdf for the Self-advocacy resource.
This site also offers a template that can be used to notify school staff of instances of bullying. This template can be found at https://www.pacer.org/bullying/resources/publications/.
- The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) website offers information about federal civil rights laws and information regarding filing complaints for instances of bullying. According to the OCR, bullying or harassment of an individual diagnosed with a disability may result in a denial of a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). Visit the OCR’s website at ed.gov/ocr.
- gov is an official website of the United States government. This website offers information about federal and state resources and laws. It includes tips regarding prevention of bullying and lists several interventions to support individuals diagnosed with disabilities who are being bullied. Some bullying prevention strategies listed on this website include the use of group inclusion-based activities and creating peer support systems within the school setting.
PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. (n. d.). “Bullying and Harassment of Students with Disabilities.” Retrieved from: www.pacer.org/bullying/resources/students-with-disabilities//.
U.S Department of Education | Office for Civil Rights. (n.d.). “Disability: Bullying and Harrassment.” Retrieved from: www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html.
Stopbullying.gov. (n.d). “What is bullying?” Retrieved from: www.stopbullying.gov