COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

P.O. BOX 2120

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

SUPTS. MEMO NO. 127

August 15, 2003

INFORMATIONAL

TO:

Division Superintendents

 

FROM:

Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction

 

SUBJECT:

Technical Assistance Survey on Harassment

 

An important shared goal of school divisions throughout Virginia is to ensure that students have a safe and secure environment that is conducive to learning and affords equal educational opportunities regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, or disability. As you know, harassment in its many forms can have serious consequences for students. At a recent No Child Left Behind and Safe Schools Conference, Education Secretary Rod Paige said: All the reforms in the world wont mean a thing if we dont have safe classrooms for students to learn and teachers to teach.

 

National studies show that far too many students experience incidents of harassment in our nations schools. Students may encounter harassment by other students as well as by teachers and other school employees. Harassment can encompass harmful conduct ranging from violent crimes to vandalism or abusive name-calling that may deprive students of equal educational opportunities. If ignored, harassment can jeopardize students academic achievement, undermine their physical and emotional well-being, provoke retaliatory violence, and exacerbate community conflict.

 

While school divisions already have anti-harassment policies and procedures in place, the Virginia Department of Education, with the assistance of the U. S. Department of Educations Office for Civil Rights and the Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium, is available to help ensure that these policies are consistent with federal civil rights laws and court decisions, and that the procedures are effective. To help ensure that our continuing efforts meet your needs, we would appreciate your response to the attached survey.

 

We look forward to working with you on this important issue. Please return your responses to Dr. Sandra E. Ruffin, director of federal program monitoring, by August 25, 2003. If you have questions concerning the survey or this initiative, you may contact Dr. Ruffin at (804) 225-2768 or by E-mail at sruffin@mail.vak12ed.edu

 

JLD/SER/dct

 

Attachment

 

/administrators/superintendents_memos/2003/inf127a.pdf