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May 11, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         
Contact: Julie Holmquist 952-838-9000, julie.holmquist@PACER.org

PACER's Executive Director invited to testify at U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hearing on bullying prevention

Paula F. Goldberg, executive director of PACER Center, has been invited to testify about bullying prevention for students with disabilities at a U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Hearing on Friday, May 13 in Washington, D.C.

PACER formed its National Bullying Prevention Center (PACER.org/bullying) in 2006 in response to numerous calls from parents about their children with disabilities being bullied. According to a report from the Journal of Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, children with disabilities are 10 times more likely to be bullied than a typical student.

At the hearing, Goldberg will recommend incorporating a federal bullying prevention law into the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA); including bullying prevention language in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); urging states to require bullying prevention training for teachers; teaching peer advocacy to students; and implementing schoolwide initiatives such as PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention Supports) to prevent bullying and improve school climate.

“We recognize that bullying is a complex societal problem and that there are no simple solutions,” Goldberg said. “However, we believe we can prevent bullying by systematically engaging and educating students, parents, school professionals and the community. We believe that we can and must prevent bullying behavior. The end of bullying begins with all of us.”

The May 13 hearing will review the Commission’s 2011 report, Federal Enforcement of Civil Rights Laws to Protect Students Against Bullying, Violence and Harassment, and discuss topics including:

  • the scope and seriousness of student-on-student bullying, harassment and violence against students who are targeted due to their race/national origin, religion, disability, gender, and/or sexual orientation or gender expression;
  • the content of applicable federal laws, the enforcement of those laws, and the effectiveness of the Departments of Education and Justice in carrying out their enforcement responsibilities;
  • the range of effective intervention and prevention efforts and programs currently promoted by the federal government;
  • recommendations for enhanced enforcement practices, and/or the need for additional

legislation.

PACER Center, a National Parent Center located in Minneapolis, Minn., serves all youth, with a special emphasis on children with disabilities. Learn more at PACER.org or call 952-838-9000; 888-248-0822 (national toll free). PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center unites, engages and educates communities nationwide to address bullying through creative, relevant and interactive resources.

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Visit PACER's other sites: Teens Against Bullying | Kids Against Bullying | FAST Family Support | FAPE | MN SEACs

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