COVID-19   Law    Advocacy    Topics A-Z     Training    Wrights' Blog   Wrightslaw Store    Yellow Pages for Kids 

 Home  > Topics > Harassment and Bullying of Children at School

The Special Ed Advocate newsletter
It's Unique ... and Free!

Enter your email address below:

Training Programs

Aug. 22 - TRT-CLE

Sept. 24 - MD via ZOOM

Full Schedule


Topics from A-Z
Free Newsletter
Seminars & Training
Yellow Pages for Kids
Press Room

Books & Training

Wrightslaw Storesecure store lock
  Advocate's Store
  Student Bookstore
  Exam Copies
Training Center
Mail & Fax Orders

Advocacy Library

Cool Tools
Doing Your Homework
Ask the Advocate
Newsletter Archives
Short Course Series
Success Stories

Law Library

Fed Court Complaints
IDEA 2004
McKinney-Vento Homeless
Section 504


American Indian
Assistive Technology
Autism Spectrum
Behavior & Discipline
College/Continuing Ed
Due Process
Early Intervention
  (Part C)

Episodic, such as
   Allergies, Asthma,
   Diabetes, Epilepsy, etc

Future Planning
High-Stakes Tests
Homeless Children
IDEA 2004
Identification & Child Find
Juvenile Justice
Law School & Clinics
Letters & Paper Trails
LRE / Inclusion
Military / DOD
Parental Protections
PE and Adapted PE
Privacy & Records
Procedural Safeguards
Progress Monitoring
Related Services
Research Based

Response to Intervention

Restraints / Seclusion
   and Abuse

School Report Cards
Section 504
Teachers & Principals
Twice Exceptional (2e)
VA Special Education

Resources & Directories

Advocate's Bookstore
Advocacy Resources
  Disability Groups
  State DOEs
  State PTIs
Free Flyers
Free Pubs
Free Newsletters
Legal & Advocacy
   Legal Terms
   Assessment Terms
Best School Websites


Print this page

Bullying and Harassment of Children at School

Articles l Articles for KidsCases l Reports & Resources l Free Videos & Pubs l Books

This Wrightslaw Bullying and Harassment Page is your go-to source of information about preventing and effective strategies for responding to bullying and harassment; includes legal decisions, training programs, public service campaigns, reports, and resources to empower schools, teachers, and parents to end bullying and harassment of children.

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, bullying is a common experience for many children and adolescents. Half or all school children are bullied in school and at least 10% are bullied frequently. Children with disabilities are often targets of bullying at school.

Bullying threatens children's physical and emotional safety at school and has a negative impact their ability to learn. The best way to address bullying is to stop it before it starts. The main responsibility for bullying in schools rests with schools. Schools are where most bullying happens and where both proactive and reactive actions can make a difference.

Studies have found dramatic reductions in bullying of between 20-80% when school-wide strategies are used.

October 21, 2014. This OCR guidance letter explains the relationship between bullying and the denial of FAPE under Section 504. The bullying of a student with a disability on any basis can result in a denial of FAPE that must be remedied; it also reiterates schools’ obligations to address conduct that may constitute a disability - based harassment violation and explains that a school must also remedy the denial of FAPE resulting from disability-based harassment.

Free App: KnowBullying by SAMHSA is a free app that encourages conversations between you and your children about preventing bullyiing. Download the app:

videoBullying, Harassment, & Civil Rights: An Overview of School Districts’ Federal Obligation to Respond to Harassment. A 12 minute video about bullying harassments and how to file a civil rights complaint. View the Bullying Prevention Training Course.

National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE), funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students provides topic research and resources on bullying and cyberbullying and more.

August 20, 2013. OSEP letter about bullying explains that, under IDEA, it is "it is also intolerable for teachers and school staff to be party to school bullying and disability harassment (i.e., being active participants in bullying), or observers to school bullying without taking action to address the behavior."

"Bullying is no longer dismissed as an ordinary part of growing up, and every effort should be made to structure environments and provide supports to students and staff so that bullying does not occur. Teachers and adults should respond quickly and consistently to bullying behavior."

Bullying can result in the denial of FAPE. "However, even when situations do not rise to a level that constitutes a denial of FAPE, bullying can undermine a student's ability to achieve his or her full academic potential."

This guidance is to provide an overview of school districts responsibilities to ensure that students with disabilities who are subject to bullying continue to receive free appropriate public education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Guidance to educators and stakeholders.

State Anti-Bullying Laws and Policies. Find the law in your state at

US DOE releases State Bullying Laws and Policies Report that summarizes approaches in the 46 states with anti-bullying laws and the 41 states that created anti-bullying policies as models for schools.

August 11, 2010 - US Department of Education Holds First Ever Bullying Summit. The goal of the summit is to engage governmental and nongovernmental partners in crafting a national strategy to reduce and end bullying.

Laws That Apply to Disability Harassment

Legal Obligations of the School. Guidance letter from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) regarding bullying and disability harassment and the school's obligation to properly consider whether student misconduct results in discriminatory harassment. (October 26, 2010)

Background, Summary, and Fact Sheet. Harassment and Bullying Guidance Letter (October 26, 2010).

Prohibited Disability Harassment, (2000) letter from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) in the U.S. Department of Education. Disability harassment can have a profound impact on students, raise safety concerns, and erode efforts to ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to the myriad benefits that an education offers.

"States and school districts also have a responsibility under Section 504, Title II, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (enforced by OSERS to ensure that a free appropriate public education (FAPE) is made available to eligible students with disabilities. Disability harassment may result in a denial of FAPE under these statutes.

Parents may initiate administrative due process procedures under IDEA, Section 504, or Title II to address a denial of FAPE, including a denial that results from disability harassment. Individuals and organizations also may file complaints with OCR, alleging a denial of FAPE that results from disability harassment. In addition, an individual or organization may file a complaint alleging a violation of IDEA under separate procedures with the state educational agency. State compliance with IDEA, including compliance with FAPE requirements, is monitored by OSERS' Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)." Read full text of the letter.


In What to Do When Teachers Bully, Parent Advocate Susan Bruce First describes the steps you should take: gather your data, organize your information and documentation, then contact the school.

In Preventing Bullying, Linda Lumsden identifies warning signs, problems caused by bullying, and discusses strategies to prevent this pervasive problem.

What Can I Do If My Child Is Being Harassed or Bullied? Dynamics of the bully-victim situation and what parents, kids, teachers, and schools can do about bullying by Jackie Igafo-Te'o.

Protecting Bullies, Not the Bullied, Seems to be the Rule in Our Schools. In Mass, parents are reporting that their children are refusing to go to class, have dropped out of sports, stopped trying to socialize, refused to go to class, and in some cases had to change schools - all because they are being bullied at school.

Talk With Your Child About Bullying. Information about how to discuss bullying with your child.

Your Three Step Plan to Stop Bullying. Ready to take action to address bullying? Maybe not sure how to start? Get a Student Action Plan.

The IEP and Bullying. Learn how to work with the IEP team to develop goals and supports for prevention and intervention against bullying.

Bullying, Discipline, and Confidentiality. A special education teacher asked a question about a student’s right to confidentiality after being disciplined by the school.

Best practices in bullying prevention, including cyber-bulling. Read what works-and doesn't work-in bullying prevention and intervention from the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Bullying Among Children and Youth with Disabilities and Special Needs. Research indicates that these children may be at particular risk of being bullied by their peers.

Is Your Child the Bully?

Teaching Kids Not to Bully from KidsHealth. audioListen in English and Spanish.

Confidentiality v. a Parent's Need to Know. Pete and Pam answer a special education teacher's question: "How much information about bullies should a school provide?"


Electronic Agression. Mirroring the increase in youth accessing and using technology, the number of youth between ages 10 and 17 in 2005 that indicated they had been involved in cyberbullying was twice what youth had reported in 1999/2000 (Wolak, Mitchell, & Finkelhor, 2006).

Feds release cyber safety booklet. (eSchoolnews, 02/13/10) The booklet tells parents and teachers what they need to know to talk to kids about issues such as cyber bullying, sexting, mobile phone safety, and protecting the family computer. Download the booklet: "Net Cetera: Chatting with Kids About Being Online" (PDF)

Cyberbullying FAQs for Teens. Get i
nformation about cyberbullying for kids, teens, and parents from the National Crime Prevention Council

Cyberbullying Research Center - A great resource for educators, parents, and teens.

Digital Safety - Staying Safe Online - This site gives a quick overview of internet dangers for parents teaching their children the dangers of social media.

"So called cyber bullying is the most rapidly expanding kind of abusive behaviour among school children." For information for schools, parents and children of all ages, please go to

Articles for Kids

Pacer Kids Against Bullying.Fun and games, real life stories, and smart stuff on how to "Spot it and Stop it."

Pacer Teens Against Bullying. How to identify, respond, listen, and act. Will U Stand against bullying?

Top 10 facts that parents, educators and students should know from the PACER Center.

You Can Beat Bullying. Find out one thing Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, and David Beckham have in common.

Advice on How to Handle a Bully. How do you know if you are being bullied? If someone is causing you harm, physically or emotionally, by verbal harassment, physical contact, or through any other means of intimidation, you are a victim of bullying.

Bullying in Schools

Prevention at School There are many things school staff can do to make schools safer and prevent bullying. Take a look.

Bullying in Early Adolescence: The Role of the Peer Group. Important information schools can and should use to help children and young adolescents manage, and potentially change, the pressure to hurt their classmates in order to "fit in."

When Teachers Bully. What do we do when our children are bullied by teachers? My son has a teacher who actually calls the kids 'wieners' and makes fun of them. especially if they are struggling. He has a mug and a sign in the classroom that says "I see stupid people."

Teachers Who Bully Students: Patterns and Policy Implications."Although most professional educators are ethical in their conduct, the bullying of students by teachers needs to be recognized as a not uncommon problem."

Are You A Bully? If you are a teacher, behavior management in the classroom is always a challenge. What is the difference between behavior management and bullying? As Linda Starr says, "Don't accidentally bully your students."

What Teachers Can Do: Prevention at School. Learn about bullying among children and teens along and the best practices to address bullying from

Bullying: Facts for Schools and Parents from the National Association of School Psychologists.

Preventing Classroom Bullying: What Teachers Can Do, by Jim Wright of Intervention Central.

Bully Free - It Starts with Me from the National Education Association; includes the article "Silencing CyberBullies".

For additional information about Cyberbullies, use this
Cyber Safety Interactive Guide from

No Rite of Passage: Coming to Grips with Harassment and Bullying in Leadership Insider from the National School Boards Association. Includes Coming to Grips with Harassment and Bullying; Strong School Board Policies Can Help Prevent Bullying; When Schools Can Discipline Students for Cyber-Bullying?; Sticks and Stones in Cyberspace; and Practical Tips for Dealing with Cyber-bullying

In Bullying in Schools and What to Do About It, Dr. Ken Rigby states, "The prime responsibility for bullying in schools rests with schools. Schools are where the bullying mostly happens and where both proactive and reactive action can make a difference."

Studies have found dramatic reductions in bullying of between 20-80% when school wide strategies are used.

To Top

Legal Cases

We featured several bullying and retaliation cases in the Wrightslaw: Special Education Legal Developments and Cases (AKA "Year in Review" books) that contain all decisions from the U. S. Courts of Appeals issued during the calendar year, beginning in 2015. See the book descriptions in the Wrightslaw Store.

Jarron Draper v. Atlanta Public School District (N.D. GA 2008) Court denies motion by Atlanta Public Schools ('APS") to dismiss Jarron's civil rights claims that APS discriminated against him, harassed him, and retaliated against him and his family; and damages requested under Section 504. (PDF)

Reports and Resources

Ten Actions All Parents Can Take to Help Eliminate Bullying. An excellent list of interventions parents can take to help eliminate bullying and its destructive effects on the victim, the bully and the witnesses.

The PACER Center, a national parent center in Minnesota, has established a National Center for Bullying Prevention. Read about their campaign to empower schools, parents, and kids to end childhood harassment. With an emphasis on children with disabilities, you'll find toolkits for daily activities, online bullying prevention training for parents, and informational handouts.

Stop Bullying Now! from Stan Davis, founding member of the International Bullying Prevention Association.

You will find many other excellent resources on bullying on the Uniquely Gifted website.

To Top

Free Videos

Nobody Likes a Bully - How to Stop Bullying in Schools. Nobody Likes a Bully is a story of school bullying from different perspectives. Coach Kozak answers questions like how to stop bullying, why do I bully, what to do if your friends are being bullied, and how to deal with bullies.

The School Bully v. the A Student l Short Film. This film gets an A+ from viewers!

How To Stop Someone From Bullying You. How do you deal with a bully? How can you stop them from bullying you? Advice about 5 ways to protect your personal space and yourself from bullies.

Four Eyes. A young boy is bullied for wearing glasses. Then he learns to stand up for himself.

My kid is being bullied: Help for Parents

Free Publications

Disability Harassment in the Public Schools (Word format) by Mark C. Weber, published in the William and Mary Law Review (Volume 43, Issue 3, February 2002). Mark Weber, author of the Special Education Law and Education Treatise, has written an excellent publication that will help you understand the legal issues of disability harassment. Pdf format

Bullying Prevention and Positive Behavior Supports. Gives students the tools to reduce bullying behavior through the blending of school-wide positive behavior support, explicit instruction, and a redefinition of bullying from the National Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

Protecting Students from Harassment and Hate Crimes: A Guide for Schools published by the Office for Civil Rights is another excellent resource for parents, teachers and others who are trying to protect kids. This publication includes the definition of "harassment" based on disability and provides step-by-step guidance for districts to develop a written anti-harassment policy.

Preventing Bullying: A Manual For Schools and Communities focuses on the problem of bullying in schools, defines bullying, discusses the seriousness of this behavior, and the effectiveness of a comprehensive approach; presents strategies for teachers, students, and parents to use when dealing in bullying situations; provides examples of innovative and successful approaches used by schools in different parts of the country.


Schools Where Everyone Belongs: Practical Strategies for Reducing Bullying, by Stan Davis. Practical information for school personnel concerned with reducing bullying among students.

The Bullying Prevention Handbook by John H. Hoover.

The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander by Barbara Coloroso.

Bullies to Buddies: How to turn your enemies into friends by Izzy Kalman.

Bullying at School: What We Know and What We Can Do by Dan Olweus.

Bullies are a Pain in the Brain by Trevor Romain.

Childhood Bullying: What School Personnel, Other Professionals, and Parents Can Do by Dorothea M. Ross.

Beyond Sticks and Stones: How to Help Your Child Address Bullying available from PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center. Read the introduction to Beyond Sticks and Stones.

Last revised: 8/25/21

To Top

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon The Special Ed Advocate: It's Free!


Special Ed Books,
Immediate Downloads
and Supplies!

Order Wrightslaw Product
s Today!

Check Out
The Advocate's Store!

Wrightslaw on FacebookWrightslaw on TwitterWrightslaw YouTube Channel 

Wrightslaw Books
Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 3rd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright
About the Book

Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition
About the Book

Wrightslaw: All About IEPs
About the Book

Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments
About the Book

Wrightslaw: Special Education Legal Developments and Cases 2019
About the Book

Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board
About the DVD Video

The Advocate's Store

Understanding Your Child's
Test Scores (1.5 hrs)

Wrightslaw Special: $14.95