School districts ramp up training after Forest Hills sex assault lawsuit, federal investigation
Jun 18th, 2015 by

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – After watching Forest Hills Public Schools undergo a federal investigation and lawsuit for its handling of a student’s campus sex assault allegations, school districts in the region are being more proactive about training employees.

“What was and is a difficult situation for Forest Hills is a learning opportunity for other school districts,” said Coni Sullivan, assistant superintendent for Human Resources and Legal Services for the Kent Intermediate School District. “We want districts to be proactive in approaching any type of harassment, not just Title IX.”

Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender in all education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. While most commonly known for promoting gender equality in sports participation, it protects against any type of sex-based harassment, such as sexual violence.

On Wednesday, Forest Hills Superintendent Dan Behm confirmed the district settled the federal lawsuit regarding the 2010 alleged sexual assault of a 15-year-old at Forest Hills Central by a student athlete for $600,000.

Related: School pays former student $600K for sex assault, harassment claims

Under Title IX, schools districts are required to respond promptly and effectively to student-on-student sexual harassment and assault to mitigate the effects of the hostile learning environment.

This spring and summer, the Kent Intermediate School District and other ISDs, as well as individual school systems, are doing extensive Title IX compliance and investigation training. On Wednesday, Katie Broaddus, an attorney with Thrun Law Firm, trained all Byron Center schools’ administrators and directors.


In March, U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney ruled Forest Hills failed to train school workers on response to complaints of sexual assault and harassment. And the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights said the 10,000-student district failed to properly investigate claims by the girl in its report.

Related: Former Forest Hills student’s report of sex assault, harassment a challenge for families, district

Sullivan said the ISD held April and May training and one is scheduled for August that will continue to drill down on Title IX, all related laws and how to conduct thorough investigations. She said school leaders know now that OCR expects a parallel investigation to what law enforcement is engaged in if the case is criminal – and that it needs to be timely.

“When it comes to investigating alleged sexual harassment that also could be a crime, you can’t just punt to police,” said Lisa Swem, an attorney with Thrun Law Firm, who conducted Title IX training sessions for KISD.

“School officials are committed to complying with Title IX. “I think the OCR position is challenging, particularly when it involves an alleged crime. The fact of the matter is educators are not trained criminal investigators or forensic interviewers.”

Swem said Title IX cannot be looked at in a vacuum. She said there are many layers because of the different laws that can come into play, such as Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which generally prevents the disclosure of confidential information about other students.

School districts are sending more staff to be trained now, not just the designated Title IX coordinator or human resources staff,

“Once the news about Forest Hills came, I knew we had to train all our principals and directors,” said Byron Superintendent Dan Takens about Wednesday’s district training and sending staff to ISD sessions. “We all need to know what to look for and the appropriate steps to take.”

Northview Superintendent Mike Paskewicz said district administrators will undergo training in August. He said Forest Hills thought they were following appropriate procedures but everyone is aware now that OCR is expecting something more rigorous.

“Districts have to be very specific about their sexual harassment policies and be prepared to investigate,” he said.

Forest Hills said that a Kent County sheriff’s detective told them not to conduct their own investigation – a claim authorities later denied.

Swem is encouraging school leaders to be proactive and meet with their local law enforcement to better understand one another’s roles and responsibilities and to educate them on their federal responsibilities under Title IX.

The Ottawa and Muskegon ISDs will host a one-day training on June 24 to ensure that “reports and complaints are adequately, reliably and impartially investigated.”

Monica Scott is the Grand Rapids K-12 education writer. Email her and follow her on Twitter @MScottGR or Facebook

What happens when your son tells you he’s really a girl?
Jan 26th, 2014 by


What happens when your son tells you he’s really a girl

Inside the families embracing the new world of gender variance

by Cathy Gulli on Monday, January 13, 2014 10:25am – MacLean’s Magazine

Since the summer of 2012, Olie Pullen has kept in her bedroom closet a Wonder Woman costume, which she loves, but has struggled to actually wear. The plan had been to don it on Halloween two years ago, but when that day came, Olie, now 11, chose to be a vampire instead. Dressing up in the red and blue costume would have exposed her at school and around her Montreal neighbourhood in a way that didn’t feel right yet: Olie was, after all, born a boy. Oliver.

When he was a toddler, at his own insistence and to the surprise of his parents, Oliver began playing with princess dresses and dolls. He wore skirts, first at home and then out, along with glittery shirts and skinny jeans, and eventually grew his blond hair long. Recently, Oliver started wearing a padded bra and taking hormone blockers to suppress male puberty. He had his name legally changed to Olie, and only responds to female pronouns. Oliver the boy is now Olie the girl. And for the first time ever, she’s comfortable. “The best part is that I feel I’m in the right body,” says Olie. “I feel like, well, I feel good.”   read more ………… 

Sep 24th, 2013 by




Prepared by Marta Larson

Consultant, Ann Arbor, Michigan



Elementary School Curriculum Materials


Anti-Bias Education: Tools for Empowering Young Children and Ourselves, by Louise Derman-Sparks and Julie Olsen Edwards. (Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2010). Exploring awareness of biases, struggling against bias, struggling against privilege, thinking critically, speaking up when something is unfair. Focusing on why an anti-bias curriculum? Creating an anti-bias environment, working with 2-year olds, racial differences & similarities, disabilities, gender identity, cultural differences & similarities, stereotyping & discriminatory behavior, activism with young children, holidays, working with parents.


BullyProof: A Teacher’s Guide on Teasing & Bullying, by Nan Stein and Lisa Sjostrom. (Wellesley, MA: National Education Association and Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, 2001) For use with 4th and 5th grade students. Bullying as part of the “evaded curriculum”. Focus on the whole school culture instead of the pathology of the bully. Covers boundaries between appropriate and inappropriate playful and hurtful behavior, and finding links between teasing, bullying and eventually sexual harassment. Creates a platform and common vocabulary for discussing how to treat one another in the classroom and on the playground.


Bully-Proofing Your School: A Comprehensive Approach for Elementary Schools, Third Edition, by Carla Garrity et al. (Publisher: Sopris West) Grade Level: K-6. Covers staff training, student instruction, victim support, intervention methods, and development of a caring climate. Follow the Safe Schools Link at


Conflict Resolution Lessons for Grades 3-5: An Introductory Curriculum AND Peer Mediation for Elementary Schools: A Training and Implementation Guide. (San Francisco: Community Boards Conflict Manager Program, 2003) Training for peer mediators. Emphasizes peaceful settlement of conflicts, active participation of disputants, empowering students to express and resolve their own conflicts and reduce tensions and hostilities associated with conflict. Focusing on new life skills, understanding based on the real needs of both people involved in the conflict, and resolution of conflict as the fourth “R” of the educational system.


QUIT IT! A Teacher’s Guide on Teasing and Bullying for use with Students in Grades K-3, by Merle Froschl and Barbara Sprung from Educational Equity Concepts, Inc., and Nancy Mullin of the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, with Nan Stein and Nancy Gropper. (Wellesley, MA: Center for Research on Women, 1998) Integrates the topics of teasing and bullying into the daily life of the classroom through three sequential themes; creating our rules, talking about teasing and bullying, and exploring courage, including sections on cooperative, non-competitive physical games and exercises, problem solving techniques and an extensive annotated bibliography. The activities promote skill building in language arts, math and social studies and physical education, and takes a pro-active gender sensitive approach to reducing teasing and bullying behavior, encourages teachers to be aware of sex-role stereotyping and helps develop respectful behavior between girls and boys.


Roots & Wings. Affirming Culture in Early Childhood Programs, by Stacey York. (St. Paul, MN: Redleaf Press, 2003) Cultural diversity education for beginners, including chapters on defining and implementing multicultural education, teaching through the classroom environment, activities for teaching children about culture, holidays and celebrations, children’s awareness of differences, culturally responsive care and education, and talking to children about differences.


Selected Bibliography of Children’s Books About Teasing and Bullying for Grades K-5, by Nancy Mullin (Wellesley, MA: Center for Research on Women, 1998). Annotated bibliography containing hundreds of listings of children’s books and classroom resource materials, as well as references for teachers and parents.


Starting Small: Teaching Tolerance in Preschool and the Early Grades. (Montgomery, AL: Southern Poverty Law Center, 1997) Video available. Promoting empathy, perceiving the feelings, thoughts, and motives of others, building bridges between people, learning to navigate those, bridges in both directions, exploring racial and ethnic awareness, fairness, friendship, prejudice, inclusive classroom, classroom rules and discipline, childhood losses.


Start Seeing Diversity: The Basic Guide to an Anti-Bias Classroom, by Ellen Wolpert for the Committee for Boston Public Housing. (Boston: Redleaf Press) A 52-minute video (with closed caption) and 144 page trainers guide. Illustrates how one can address bias related to age, gender, sexual orientation, economic class, physical abilities and characteristics, and race and ethnicity (and why it is important to address them) with preschoolers,  their teachers and families.


Steps to Respect. (Seattle: The Committee for Children, a part of the Safe Schools Coalition), An elementary school program that addresses bullying, harassment, and the development of healthy relationships among children. Designed to integrate well with reading, language arts, social studies curricular areas, and to fulfill national standards in specific subject areas. Classroom lessons are designed in three levels for grades 3-6. The four main components of Steps to Respect are in-service training for school staff, skill-based lessons at three grade levels, including photo lesson cards and video vignettes, literature-based lessons, and parent/family involvement materials.


Words Can Hurt You: Beginning a Program of Anti-Bias Education, by Barbara J. Thomson. (New York: Addison-Wesley, 1993) Contains a collection of materials aimed at preschool through grade 3, including creating a supportive environment, taking advantage of how young children learn, bringing anti-bias resources and materials into your classroom, expanding the scope to schoolwide efforts, and involving families. Includes activities focusing on same and different, cultural awareness and ethnocentricity, disability awareness,  and challenging prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination.


Elementary School/Middle School Curriculum Materials


How to Handle Bullies, Teasers and Other Meanies: A Book that Takes the Nuisance out of Name Calling and Other Nonsense, by Kate Cohen-Posey. (Highland City, FL: Rainbow Books, 1995) For Grades 4-7.  Focuses on useful techniques for use with verbal bullying, including starting an anti-meanness club.


Tribes: A Process for Social Development and Cooperative Learning, by Jeanne Gibbs. (Santa Rosa, CA: Center Source Publications, 1987) Based on Bloom’s taxonomy. Curriculum of social interactions, peer group oriented, norm based. Focusing on social environment and human behavior, positive school climate, social development, self esteem, cooperative groups, norms, attentive listening, no put-downs, appreciation, right to pass, confidentiality.


Why is Everybody Always Picking on Me? A Guide to Handling Bullies, by Terrence Webster-Doyle. (Shambhala Publications, 1999) For ages 9-12. Gives the reader tools to defeat bullying (including avoidance and trickery) and explores the root of bullying and conflict so it can be prevented before it starts.


Middle School/High School Curriculum Materials


Date Violence: Love in a Pumpkin Shell. (Green Bay, WI: NEWIST/CESA #7, 1995) A video (30 minutes) that looks at the increasing problem of date violence among teens and examines the cycle of abuse: the tension building, explosion and honeymoon stages. Interviews with victims and with perpetrators provide viewers with insight about the problem, inform them where to go for help and educate them about what constitutes a healthy relationship.


Educating For a Just Society, by Kathleen McGinnis. (St. Louis, MO: The Institute for Peace and Justice, undated) For grades 7-12. A methodology for educating for peace and justice, conflict resolution and dealing with violence, ageism, justice for people with disabilities, sexism, racism, multicultural education, poverty in the U.S., advertising and the media. then follow links to Resources for Public Schools


Face to Face: Communication, Culture, and Collaboration; the Cross-Cultural Workbook, (second edition) by Virginia Vogel Zanger. (Rowley, MA: Newbury House Publishers, Inc., 1993) Helps students learn English through cross cultural exploration, using interview situations and conducting field-based research. Available through


Flash Judgments. (Seattle: Safe Schools Coalition, 1996) 24 min. Video – Closed Captioned, Grade 6 – adult. Part of the “We All Belong: Stop Harassment” anti-harassment project co-sponsored by the Seattle Public Schools, the Seattle Women’s Commission and the City of Seattle. Initially, viewers are invited to express their first impressions of various young people based on their portraits. Then, viewers meet the real people and are asked to compare their first impressions to what they think after they have heard about the backgrounds, hopes, dreams, and imperfections of the actual people. Includes young people of various racial, religious and ethnic backgrounds, one who is gay and one with a lesbian mom, some with disabilities, one who’s been targeted for being short, and so forth.


Flirting or Hurting? A Teacher’s Guide on Student-to-Student Sexual Harassment in Schools, by Nan Stein and Lisa Sjostrom. (Wellesley, MA: National Education Association and Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, 1994) 20 minute Video, Teacher’s Guide. For grades 6-12. May be used effectively in a variety of courses, and can be tailored to suit particular time restrictions, age groups, and to the related lessons in the classroom. Includes a comprehensive introduction, six “core” lessons, supplementary activities, resources and relevant readings. Flirting vs. sexual harassment, student observations, agree/disagree, defining your rights, case studies and role plays, stand up for your rights.


Higher Stakes: The Consequences of High School Harassment. (Center City, MN: the Hazelden Foundation, 2001) 13:30 minute video. For grades 9-12. Features high school students discussing harassment from their point of view, including understanding why some people harass others and how bystanders can be helpful in intervening in harassment situations.


It’s Not Only Murder; Discovering the Violence in Your Life. (Center City, MN: the Hazelden Foundation, 2001) 16:20 minute video. For grades 6-12. Makes the point that violence is more than murder and outlines the areas in the lives of teens where violence occurs, including making a connection between bullying and violence. Narrated by teens.


Making the Peace: A 15-Session Violence Prevention Curriculum for Young People, by Paul Kivel and Allan Creighton of The Oakland Men’s Project. (Alameda, CA: Hunter House Inc. Publishers, 2002) A 15-session violence prevention curriculum for young people, including working with youth to make the peace, assessing the classroom community, the roots of violence, race, class, and gender: the difference that difference makes, making the peace now, and a resources section.


Open Minds to Equality: A Sourcebook of Learning Activities to Promote Race, Sex, Class, and Age Equity, Third Edition, by Nancy Schniedewind and Ellen Davidson. Published by Rethinking Schools. (Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon, 2006) Lesson plans for promoting equity (race, gender, class, age, language, sexual orientation, physical and mental ability and religion) in elementary and middle schools. Covers roadblocks to equality, teaching for equality, building trust & communication, creative cooperation, our lives/others’ lives, new words/new perspectives, discrimination, investigating your environment, environmental influences/their effects, making change, and resources.


Peace by Piece: A Violence Prevention Guide for Communities, by Harvard School of Public Health Violence Prevention Programs and Deborah Prothrow-Stith. (Harvard School of Public Health, Division of Public Health Practice, Violence Prevention Programs, 1998) A methodical approach to violence prevention. Includes starting with a blueprint, coalition building, laying a foundation (curricula, peer mediation and leadership, community initiatives for youth, and parenting education initiatives), building upon a solid foundation (dating violence prevention, facing the firearms issue, gang violence prevention, and self esteem & anti bias education), knowing the violence prevention landscape (media messages, help from the health care setting, and alternatives to suspension), and working with survivors of violence.


Peer Mediation for Middle Schools: A Training and Implementation Guide. (San Francisco: Community Boards Conflict Manager Program, 2003) Training for peer mediators. Emphasizes peaceful settlement of conflicts, active participation of disputants, empowering students to express and resolve their own conflicts and reduce tensions and hostilities associated with conflict. Focusing on new life skills, understanding based on the real needs of both people involved in the conflict, and resolution of conflict as the fourth “R” of the educational system. 12-hour peer mediation model, includes CD with all required training posters, student handbook, forms, etc.


Playing with Fire: Creative Conflict Resolution For Young Adults, by Fiona MacBeth and Nic Fine. (Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1995) Stresses that the characters that make up the word “conflict” in Chinese are danger and opportunity. Provides a structure for participants to explore situations of conflict and potential violence. Explores topics such as: ourselves and our communication, immediate responses/coping strategies, powerlessness and assertiveness, anger, enemies, and awareness, inequalities and empowerment, crisis management, recovery and reparation, the ritual of reconciliation, and moves towards community action.


Violence Prevention Curriculum For Adolescents, by Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith. (Newton, MA: Education Development Center, Inc., 2004) Grades 9-10. Ten 45-minute sessions. Video available. Focuses on violence in America, friend and family violence, violence as a preventable learned behavior, handling anger in a non-violent way, healthy and non-healthy reactions to anger, and the cost-benefit analysis of fighting. Includes role playing strategies to handle anger, to prevent violence, and to resolve conflict productively.


Young Men’s Work: Stopping Violence & Building Community, by Allan Creighton & Paul Kivel, Oakland Men’s Project. (2 volumes) (Center City, MN: Hazelden, 2001) For young men, ages 14-19, twenty group sessions, including problem solving without violence, power & violence, act like a man, being hurt by violence, bullies, thinking out of the box, who am I?, women, men, class, race, and culture, building alliances, drugs, and relationships.


K-12 Curriculum Materials


Beyond Heroes and Holidays: A Practical Guide to K-12 Anti-Racist, Multicultural Education and Staff Development, by Enid Lee, Deborah Menkart, and Margo Okazawa-Rey (Eds.) (Washington, DC: Network of Educators on the Americas, 1998) A practical guide to K-12 Anti-Racist, Multicultural Education and staff development for school staff, family and community development personnel. Theme is that schools should be the place where students can analyze the forces which maintain injustice and develop the knowledge, hope and strategies create a more just society for us all. Includes essays and sample lessons in reading between the lines, and critical literacy. Classroom lessons for early childhood, social studies/language arts, mathematics, science/geography, the arts, and technology. Includes some school-wide activities.


Harassment-free Hallways: How to Stop Sexual Harassment in Schools. (American Association of University Women, 2002) Materials for students, parents, and schools, available as a downloadable .pdf file. Includes assessments, strategies, best practices, models, resources, and links.


Too Good for Drugs and Violence, website and training program by the Mendez Foundation Education Center. Teaches conflict resolution, anger management, respect for self and others, and effective communication skills. Developed by certified teachers and training professionals. Training of trainers available. Includes curriculum guides, and teaching materials.


High School/PostSecondary Curriculum Materials


Gender Violence/Gender Justice by Nan Stein and Dominic Cappello with contributions from Linda Tuback and Jackson Katz (Wellesley, MA: Center for Research on Women, 1999). This teaching guide explores power, inequities, and violence in relationships; friendship, interventions, justice and courage; and gender violence, which includes hazing, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. Classroom discussion on these topics can be extended beyond a particular lesson through literature, writing assignments, case studies, mock trials and research assignments.


Helping Teens Stop Violence, by Allan Creighton, Battered Women’s Alternatives, and Paul Kivel, Oakland Men’s Project. (Alameda, CA: Hunter House, 1992) A multi-racial step-by-step program which empowers young people to resist abuse and prevent violence in their relationships. Explores liberation theory and practice, power, sexism, racism, heterosexism, class, being in the classroom, H.S. programs on family and dating violence, workshop outlines, and working with teen support groups.


Peer Mediation for High Schools: A Training and Implementation Guide. (San Francisco: Community Boards Conflict Manager Program, 2003) Training for peer mediators. Emphasizes peaceful settlement of conflicts, active participation of disputants, empowering students to express and resolve their own conflicts and reduce tensions and hostilities associated with conflict. Focusing on new life skills, understanding based on the real needs of both people involved in the conflict, and resolution of conflict as the fourth “R” of the educational system. 12-hour peer mediation model, includes forms, evaluations, etc.


Sexual Harassment in American Secondary Schools – A Legal Guide for Administrators, Teachers and Students, by Nancy S. Layman, J.D. (Dallas: Contemporary Research Press, 1994) A law-based reference book, with sections on what is sexual harassment, what laws apply to schools and individuals, steps for the school to take to prevent sexual harassment, what the school can do if harassment occurs, and a listing of resource organization.


Adult and Reference Materials


Brave Enough to be Kind: A Survey of Bullying Behavior among Maine Third Graders, by the Maine Project Against Bullying. (Augusta, ME: Maine Department of Education) Research report and web site that includes current research about bullying, report on the survey results, and downloadable materials and bibliography databases.


“Bullying Behaviors among US Youth: Prevalence and Association with Psychosocial Adjustment” by Tonja R. Nansel et al, in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association (April 25, 2001).


California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) of the California Department of Education is an example of the application of resiliency research in schools and communities. It is a comprehensive youth health and risk

behavior data collection support system for school districts and was developed through WestEd’s Human Development Program. Promoting academic achievement among all students requires safe and drug-free schools and healthy, resilient youth.


A Cry for Character, by Dary Matera. (Paramus, NJ: Prentice Hall Press, 2001) A book which tells how students at the Mundelein IL High School took back their school after years of bullying and out of control behavior.


Cyberbullying Research Center. Devoted to understanding the causes and consequences of cyberbullying. Includes events, research, presentations, publications, resources, multimedia, and a section entitled share your story.


Do the Right Thing: Understanding, Addressing, and Preventing Sexual Harassment in Schools. (Washington, DC: National Women’s Law Center, 1998) Written in non-technical terms for easy access by parents, educators and others who want a straight-forward analysis and was developed in collaboration with the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National School Boards Association. It provides a review of the law, prevention and intervention strategies, case studies and lists of expert resources to help school officials develop and implement sexual harassment policies in elementary and secondary school environments. Guide outlines courses of action for school officials and harassment victims, and include resources that make taking action easier, such as a sample policy, model complaint forms, information on state and federal enforcement agencies, and a supplement that incorporates and analyzes the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision on sexual harassment. Available from the National Women’s Law Center, 11 Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC, 20036, phone (202) 588-5180 fax (202) 588-5185.


Educator’s Guide to Controlling Sexual Harassment, by Bernice Sandler, Ed.D. (Washington, D.C.: Thompson Publishing Group, 1993, 1994) A three-ring binder of information about sexual harassment in educational institutions. Contains six tabbed sections; Tab 100: discusses sexual harassment and provides an overview of the guide, Tab 200: defines sexual harassment and distinguishes between acceptable and unacceptable behaviors, Tab 300: explains the laws on sexual harassment and an institution’s liability, Tab 400: focuses on prevention, describing the elements of effective policies and procedures, Tab 500: describes informal and formal ways to handle problems and complaints, and Tab 600: modules for training staff and administrators. Appendices contain support materials, including laws and regulations, summaries of court and agency decisions, sample policies and procedures, and other resources.


Educator’s Guide to Cyberbullying, Cyberthreats and Sexting. (Nancy Willard, M.S., J.D., Center for Safe and Responsible Use of the Internet)


Hostile Hallways: The AAUW Survey on Sexual Harassment in America’s Schools. Commissioned by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation. (Annapolis Junction, MD: AAUW, June, 1993) A nationally representative survey of adolescent sexual harassment in schools that discusses the extent of sexual harassment in schools, and identifies the educational, emotional, and behavioral impact of sexual harassment on our nation’s schoolchildren.


Hostile Hallways: Bullying, Teasing, and Sexual Harassment in School (Annapolis Junction, MD: AAUW, 2001). Compares a nationally representative survey of 2,064 eighth- through 11th-graders with AAUW’s original survey in 1993 (see above), exploring differences in responses by gender, race/ethnicity, grade level and area (urban or suburban/rural.)


Netsmartz Workshop. Keeping Kids and Teens Safer on the Internet. NetSmartz offers many resources plus free, multimedia Internet safety presentations tailored for specific audiences — parents and communities, tweens, teens, and younger children. Presentations utilize the latest statistics, online resources, videos, and expert tips to educate, engage, and empower children and adults to be safer on- and offline.


Sexual Harassment Support, by Legal Momentum (NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund). (New York: NOW LDEF, 1995) Contains definitions of sexual harassment, definitions, a list of things that can be done to prevent sexual harassment in schools, and a resource list.


Nobody Left to Hate: Teaching Compassion After Columbine, by Elliot Aronson. (NY: WH Freeman & Co, 2001) A guide to changing the social environment of the school from competition to cooperation. Emphasizes treating the underlying causes of problems in school instead of the symptoms.


Peace Education Foundation. Their mission is to educate children and adults in the dynamics of conflicts and promote skills of peacemaking.


Protecting Students from Harassment and Hate Crime; A Guide for Schools, by the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, in collaboration with the National Association of Attorneys General. (1999) A comprehensive manual that schools can use to address and prevent harassment and hate crime based on race, color, national origin, sex, and disability. Also discusses forms of harassment that may be covered by state laws or that school districts may choose to include in their anti-harassment policies, such as harassment based on religion and sexual orientation. Download at no cost from:


Rethinking our Classrooms; Teaching for Equity and Justice, vol. 1 & 2, by Wayne Au, Bill Bigelow and Stan Karp. (Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, February, 2007) Contains many essays and articles ranging from understanding bias and the roots of violence, to classroom strategies, to teaching ideas, to rethinking our assumptions, and taking the issue beyond the classroom. Large resources section.

Righting the Wrongs: A Legal Guide to Understanding, Addressing and Preventing Sexual Harassment in Schools. (Washington, DC: National Women’s Law Center, 1998) Offers a detailed discussion of the legal principals and precedents governing sexual harassment in schools and is written for the experts charged with monitoring and enforcing these policies — attorneys, advocates, educators, and school administrators. Outlines courses of action for school officials and harassment victims, and include resources that make taking action easier, such as a sample policy, model complaint forms, and information on state and federal enforcement agencies. The guide includes supplements that incorporate and analyze the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision on sexual harassment.


The Safe Schools Coalition of Washington. (Seattle, WA) Recommendations and strategies for administrators, educators, families and students on handling, intervening, preventing, and surviving anti-gay harassment. Includes policies, training, resource materials and list of helpful agencies.

The Safety Zone website, by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. (Portland, Oregon) It offers a wealth of information, resources, publications all related to promoting nonviolence and safe schools.


The Search Institute is an independent, nonprofit, nonsectarian organization whose work draws on the resiliency research. Identifies the elements of a strength-based approach to healthy development, and a framework of developmental assets.


Stop Bullying: Guidelines for Schools, part of No Bully, a website by Telecom and the New Zealand police. A how-to manual for a whole-school approach to the problem of bullying. Stresses that most (80%) of pupils are not actively involved in bullying, but unless asked for help, or are made to feel they have a responsibility or duty to act, they will silently collude with the abuse.


Resources for Preventing Bullying, Harassment, and School-Based Violence. (Seattle: Safe Schools Coalition of Washington) Resource listing things a School Board, administration, principal, staff, and every adult in a school can do to prevent harassment.


A School Employee’s Guide to GLBT Issues. (Annapolis Junction, MD: NEA Professional Library, 2006) A publication from the National Education Association, provides information about Title IX’s protections related to sexual harassment and sexual orientation, as well as about other legal, civil rights, and safety issues related to gay and lesbian students and educators.


Sexual Harassment in Schools Project, Selected Resources. by Nan Stein. (Winter 2007) Wellesley Centers for Women) A list of recommended resources for use in prevention, includes books, articles, chapters, supplemental resources and legal precedents.


Ten Ways to Fight Hate; a Community Response Guide. (Montgomery, AL: Southern Poverty Law Center, 1999) Outlines ten community actions in response to hate, including act, unite, support the victims, do your homework, create an alternative, speak up, lobby leaders, look long range, teach tolerance, and dig deeper. Includes a comprehensive resources section of organizations and materials.


They Don’t Even Know Me: Understanding Anti-Gay Harassment and Violence in Schools. (Seattle: Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment, Jan. 1999) A report on the five year anti-violence research project of the Safe Schools Coalition of Washington State. A report documenting teen health risks, including harassment. Examines the phenomenon of anti-gay harassment and violence in schools, K-12. Analysis of specific incidents, categories of offenses, adult responses, reasons for selection of victim, and victim response to the incident.

Jul 25th, 2013 by

This is a very significant court case regarding the rights of transgender students. See attached official documents.


From: USDOJ-Office of Public Affairs (SMO)
Sent: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 4:07 PM
To: USDOJ-Office of Public Affairs (SMO)


Note:  A copy of the agreement and closure letter are attached in pdf format.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                 CRT

WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013                                                                             (202) 514-2007

WWW.JUSTICE.GOV                                                                                    TTY (866) 544-5309



WASHINGTON – The United States entered into a settlement agreement with the Arcadia Unified School District in Arcadia, Calif., to resolve an investigation into allegations of discrimination against a transgender student based on the student’s sex.  Under the agreement, approved by the district’s school board unanimously last night, the school district will take a number of steps to ensure that the student, whose gender identity is male and who has consistently and uniformly presented as a boy at school and in all other aspects of his life for several years, will be treated like other male students while attending school in the district.


The agreement, joined by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which participated in the investigation, resolves a complaint filed in October 2011.  The complaint alleged that the district had prohibited the student from accessing facilities consistent with his male gender identity, including restrooms and locker rooms at school, as well as sex-specific overnight accommodations at a school-sponsored trip, because he is transgender.  The United States investigated this complaint under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Both Title IX and Title IV prohibit discrimination against students based on sex.

Under the settlement agreement, the district will:

  • work with a consultant to support and assist the district in creating a safe, nondiscriminatory learning environment for students who are transgender or do not conform to gender stereotypes;
  • amend its policies and procedures to reflect that gender-based discrimination, including discrimination based on a student’s gender identity, transgender status, and nonconformity with gender stereotypes, is a form of discrimination based on sex; and
  • train administrators and faculty on preventing gender-based discrimination and creating a nondiscriminatory school environment for transgender students.


Additionally, the district will take a number of steps to treat the student like all other male students in the education programs and activities offered by the district.  The district-wide provisions of the agreement will be in place until the end of the 2015-2016 school year.  The student-specific provisions of the agreement will be in place as long as the student is enrolled in the district.


“All students, including transgender students, have the right to attend school free from discrimination based on their sex,” said Jocelyn Samuels, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.  “We commend the district for taking affirmative steps to ensure that this student and his peers can continue to learn and thrive in a safe and nondiscriminatory environment.”

“Our commitment to civil rights enforcement runs deep and nowhere is that commitment more meaningful than in our schools,” said André Birotte, Jr., United States Attorney for the Central District of California. “This agreement helps ensure continued advancement towards equal rights under the law for all students.”

In recent years, the Justice Department and the Department of Education resolved a number of cases involving gender-based harassment in public schools.  In 2012, the departments entered into a consent decree addressing harassment against students who do not conform to gender stereotypes in the Anoka-Hennepin School District, Minn.  In 2011, the departments entered into an agreement with the Tehachapi Unified School District, Calif., to resolve a similar complaint of harassment against a gay student who did not conform to gender stereotypes.

Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 each prohibit harassment based on sex.  The enforcement of Title IV and Title IX are top priorities of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  Additional information about the Civil Rights Division is available on its website at



Play By The Rules – Great Free Curriculum
Jun 10th, 2013 by

Play by the Rules is a promising award winning program developed by the Alabama Center for Law & Civic Education to teach law to youth to develop their sense of civic responsibility and provide them with the tools they need to prevent crime, save lives and build safer communities.

The Play by the Rules program is proudly brought to you by the Alabama Center for Law & Civic Education. This website is funded by the Young Lawyers Section of the Alabama State Bar.

See the Connecticut site.

Free copies are available to schools. The book covers many areas often faced by Title IX Coordinators, such as:

  • What is Harassment?
  • What is Bullying and is it a Crime?
  • What are My Rights as a Student?

The curriculum is being used by School Resource Officers.

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