Youth Bullying Prevention in the District of Columbia | School Year 2019-20 Report

Healthy SchoolsJul 15 2021

The Youth Bullying Prevention Act of 2012 (YBPA; DC Law L19-167) and its implementing regulations require schools and other youth serving agencies (including, but not limited to, government agencies, libraries, nonprofits, and community centers) to adopt comprehensive anti-bullying policies, implement thorough reporting and investigation procedures, provide training for staff, and maintain and report incident data. The law further requires the Mayor to report to Council, on a biennial basis, the current implementation of the Act and to provide a summary of the status of bullying in the District of Columbia. This report serves to fulfill this requirement for school year (SY) 2019-2020. As with the previous iterations of this report (SY 2013-2014; SY 2015-2016; SY 2017-2018), this report provides a detailed summary of each education institution’s engagement with the YBPA.

Key findings

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  • The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted schools’ implementation of the YBPA. Only 12 schools reported receiving allegations of bullying after schools switched to virtual learning in March 2020.
  • Nearly 25 percent of DC’s schools are fully compliant with the YBPA’s four requirements. This marks an improvement from our SY 2017-2018 analysis but suggests that schools need continued support to become fully compliant.
  • Rates of bullying are largely steady and remain lower than national averages. According to data from the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the percentage of students experiencing in-person bullying in high school (12.7%) and middle school (32.0%) remained statistically unchanged, as did the percentage of middle school students experiencing cyberbullying (13.5%), while the percentage of high school students experiencing cyberbullying (10.6%) slightly increased.
  • Allegations reported on the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection and OHR’s annual YBPA data collection are inconsistent. DC schools reported 167 allegations of bullying and harassment based on race, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or religion on the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) in SY 2017-2018 and 269 allegations in the same categories on the YBPA data collection. Further exploration is needed to understand this discrepancy.
  • Schools are using more alternatives to exclusionary discipline to address bullying, but more than half of schools that reported incidents used in-school suspension, out-of-school suspension, expulsion, or referrals to law enforcement to address at least one incident.

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