October 25, 2013

Contact: Hedy Weinberg, Executive Director; (615) 320-7142

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Education “Bullying and Harassment Compliance Report” issued late yesterday on the scope of bullying statewide raises serious concerns about the extent and prevalence of bullying. The report confirms 5,478 acts of bullying during the 2012-2013 school year. Twenty-two percent of the confirmed cases involved race, color, national origin, sex, gender or disability.

The report was the result of 2012 legislation sponsored by Senator Bill Ketron and Representative Charles Curtiss. For the past several years ACLU-TN has been working closely with legislators, GLSEN and other allies to strategize and draft comprehensive anti-bullying legislation.

Since 2007, ACLU-TN has also joined with students, parents, educators, advocates and others to encourage adoption of comprehensive anti-bullying policies at the local level. ACLU-TN’s “Support Student Safety” campaign led to the unanimous adoption of a comprehensive anti-bullying policy by the Metro Nashville Public Schools in 2008.

The following can be attributed to Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee:

“We applaud Senator Ketron and Representative Curtiss for their leadership in ensuring that this report came to fruition. The report is a reminder of the importance of pursuing comprehensive legislation that strengthens anti-bullying protections for groups particularly vulnerable to bias-based bullying, including LGBT students, youth with disabilities, and others. We will continue leading the charge to ensure that Tennessee’s anti-bullying law extends protection to a wide range of young people in the coming session.”