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Steven A. Greenburg, Education Law
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The many costs of bullying

Bullying at schools can cause a great deal of harm. It can have major, lasting impacts on its victims. It can also have big implications, including monetary ones, for school districts.

Among the things bullying can do is make a student, and their parents, feel like school is no longer a safe place. Among the things this could lead to is a student having more school absences. In addition to having implications for a student’s education, such an increase could have financial ramifications for the student’s school district. This is because, here in California, level of student absences is among the things that impact what funding a school district receives.

A recent study estimated how much bullying-related absences cost California school districts in funding. The study made its estimates based off of data from a survey of certain middle and high school students in the state. The survey was from the 2011 to 2013 period.

Based on the survey’s results, the study estimated that, annually, school districts in the state, in total, lose around $276 million in funding as a result of student absences related to bullying.

One type of bullying students sometimes face is bullying related to a disability they have. The study estimated that absences connected to disability-related bullying could be tied to $49 million of the above-mentioned annual funding losses.

Given the major implications bullying can have for a school district’s students and a school district’s situation as a whole (including its funding situation), one would hope California school districts would take appropriate bullying protection measures regarding all of their students. This includes their special needs students. What do you think are the most important steps for California school districts to take when it comes to preventing disability-related bullying at their schools?

Sometimes, a parent of a student with disabilities may have worries that their child’s school hasn’t done enough to protect their child from bullying or address bullying that their child has been subjected to. When such worries arise, among the things a parent may wonder is what they can do to try to ensure their child gets the protections they need. Issues related to bullying are among the education issues skilled attorneys can provide parents of special needs students with guidance on.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, “Why does bullying cost California schools $276 million every year?,” Carolyn Wilke, July 11, 2017

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