A new report from the California state auditor faulted both local entities and the state’s oversight in anti-bullying programs. (Photo: Getty Images)
By Jane Meredith Adams, EdSource Today
Just as kids are heading back to classrooms, a new state audit has found that most schools do not track whether their anti-bullying programs have made campuses any safer and that schools are inconsistent in how they record and resolve bullying incidents.
The California Department of Education has been insufficient in both oversight and guidance, the audit said. It further noted that the department went four years without noticing that it was not monitoring schools to ensure they were addressing student complaints, as required by law. At the same time, funding has been cut for statewide surveys on student safety, making it more difficult to determine students’ experiences with bullying.
“The audit shows that passing laws isn’t enough. We need to implement them and ensure accountability at the district, county and statewide levels.”
On the plus side, the audit did find that the vast majority of California schools have anti-bullying programs in place and have provided staff training in how to prevent bullying, discrimination, harassment and intimidation.
Still, one advocate said the audit confirms that much remains to be done to reduce the high levels of bullying in California schools.
“The audit shows that passing laws isn’t enough –- we need to implement them and ensure accountability at the district, county and statewide levels,” said Jesse Melgar, with Equality California, a San Francisco-based advocacy group. “Now, California schools and the Department of Education have an opportunity to use the audit’s findings to review, update and enhance their policies to better protect our youth and ensure student success.” Continue reading