A new Government Accountability Office report about bullying recommends additional action by the U.S. Department of Education and the attorney general, and says more study is needed to determine whether existing laws go far enough in protecting all students from bullying at school.
The GAO report was done at the request of Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa and chairman of the Senate education committee, and committee members Robert Casey, D-Penn., Al Franken, D-Minn., and and Mark Kirk, R-Ill.
Analyzing a number of surveys about bullying, the GAO found that there are questions about the extent to which bullying affects certain groups of youths relative to others. There was no significant difference in the percentage of boys and girls that reported being bullied, according to two surveys, while another noted that girls were bullied at a higher percentage. In two of the three surveys, white students reported being bullied at a higher percentage than black youths, while another survey found no significant difference.
And the report found cases where Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 apply to discrimination based on gender identity. However, they haven’t been used to address discrimination based solely on sexual orientation, and the Justice department said discrimination based on sexual orientation is not covered under Titles IV or IX.