ACLU of Idaho Launches Student "Pocket Card" Project to Prevent School Harassment

Affiliate: ACLU of Idaho
August 29, 2001 12:00 am

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ACLU of Idaho
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BOISE, ID – Today the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho launched the Student Pocket Card Project to inform students of their right to attend schools free from harassment and discrimination.

“Our message is that every student is valued, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, religious beliefs, and other factors,” said Jack Van Valkenburgh, Executive Director of the ACLU of Idaho.

The business card sized Pocket Card, in both English and Spanish versions, defines harassment and lists steps a student should take to document, report, and get emotional support if they experience harassment. The card encourages students to contact the ACLU of Idaho to report problems and find out where they can get guidance and support.

“Students experiencing harassment need to know that they are not alone and don’t have to put up with such treatment,” said Marty Durand, ACLU of Idaho Program Coordinator. “We want to inform them of the steps they can take to stop harassment.”

Recent studies reveal the prevalence of bullying in the nation’s schools, its impact on self esteem and the ability to succeed in school, and the relationship between the pain of experiencing such treatment and recent fatal school shootings.

A Kaiser Family Foundation and Nickelodeon study released in March of 2001 found that bullying and teasing top the list of middle- and high-school students’ troubles. And in the first large-scale national study of bullying in schools, released in April, 2001, a survey of nearly 16,000 American sixth through tenth graders by the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that one-third had experienced bullying at school.

The WHO survey defined “bullying” as “verbal or physical behavior designed to disturb someone less powerful.” The WHO researchers noted that intervention programs in England and Norway have reduced bullying by 30 to 50 percent.

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