Posted on 11/14/2017 at 02:25 PM by Liz Determan

Respond to Bullying and Harassment

(Section 504 Compliance Advisor, Vol. 21, Is. 4. June 2017, p. 2)


“’A high school senior in a North Carolina district was hospitalized for mental health concerns, including generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder.  After he was released from the hospital, he was arrested for an alleged assault that occurred off campus.  He was hospitalized again.  Following the student’s arrest, he alleged an increase in peer-based bullying.  He claimed other students at his school learned of the arrest through an online record on the local sheriff’s website.  One student was reported to have told him, ‘We always knew you were crazy, but this proves it.’ Another student allegedly took an image of the student’s mugshot and rendered it to make it appear that the student was wearing a straightjacket.  The photo was allegedly captioned ‘animal man’ and posted on social media.”


[There was evidence the district was made aware of the harassment.] “A district’s failure to respond promptly and effectively to disability-based harassment that it knew or should have known about and that is sufficiently serious that it creates a hostile environment is a form of discrimination prohibited by Section 504 and ADA Title II.  The allegations were sufficient to raise OCR concerns that the district did not meet its Section 504 and Title II responsibilities in how it handled the alleged harassment.  In Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC) Schools, 117 LRP 7677 (OCR 11/21/16). OCR entered into a resolution agreement with the district to remedy the issues raised in the case by its resp9onse to the bullying.  OCR explained that districts must take immediate and appropriate action to investigate charges of harassment to determine what occurred.  Although the specific steps in an investigation will vary depending on the nature of the claims.  OCR emphasized that the inquiry should always be prompt, thorough, and impartial.”

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