ADL Hails New ABA Policy Addressing Bullying And Cyberbullying

New York, NY, February 14, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today hailed the adoption of a strong and inclusive anti-bullying and cyberbullying resolution by the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates.

The League provided expertise as the resolution and accompanying comprehensive report were crafted and discussed at the ABA's mid-year meeting in Atlanta.

"We are delighted that the American Bar Association approved a broad and inclusive resolution in support of federal and state initiatives to address bullying and cyberbullying," said Deborah M. Lauter, ADL Civil Rights Director. "We thank Stephen Zack, ABA President, for his leadership on this important initiative."

The ABA Resolution calls for:

  • Adopting federal and state policies and laws designed to prevent and respond to bullying and cyberbullying;
  • Developing federal and state programs to identify victims and enhance appropriate interventions;
  • Funding programs, research and evaluation that address prevention and response to bullying and cyberbullying;
  • Training, data collection, and appropriate notice of bullying incidents to the families of those involved;
  • Internet service providers and social networking platforms to adopt terms of service that define and prohibit cyberbullying and cyberhate;
  • School districts to implement the October 2010 U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights "Dear Colleague" letter on bullying and harassment.

"We appreciate the fact that the ABA resolution and accompanying report appropriately recognized that there is a special risk for those who are bullied because of their personal characteristics such as race, religion, national origin, sex, disability, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity," said Ms. Lauter. "We very much hope that the new ABA policy statement will prompt state and local Bar Associations, as well as individual lawyers and judges, to pay attention to this serious, national problem."

League experts helped craft the resolution, and Michael Lieberman, the League's Washington Counsel, participated in the ABA Commission on Youth at Risk panel discussion at the meeting in support of the resolution.

ADL takes a broad, holistic approach to addressing bullying and cyberbullying, tracking the nature and magnitude of the problem, developing education and training programs on bullying and cyberbullying, and advocating – at the state and federal level – for policies and programs that can make a difference. ADL has formed a partnership with the Cartoon Network to raise awareness about the issue.

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.

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Steven Salerno