School Climate & Safety

Bullying Prevention a Special Concern for Students With Disabilities

By Nirvi Shah — October 05, 2011 1 min read
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Tyler and Teagen Comeau, who have Asperger’s syndrome, can recall being bullied a number of times at school or on the bus.

But the 13-year-old twins, who live in Mansfield, Conn., can’t always tell someone about it. The way they react is governed by their condition, a form of autism.

The day a bully kicked Tyler in the face, for example, he went to the only adult on the bus, the driver, but was unable to form words. The bus driver told him she was going to write him up for crying, according to this story in the Connecticut Post.

The month of October is bullying prevention month, and some organizations are putting a special emphasis on preventing bullying of students with disabilities.

The National Center on Learning Disabilities is hosting a chat on Thursday with Jonathan Cohen, co-founder and president of The National School Climate Center.

The PACER Center (Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights) is asking people to wear orange on Oct. 12 to send a message of support to students who have experienced bullying. Also this month, the organization is asking people to come together in song and dance to raise awareness about bullying prevention.

Bullying isn’t limited to students with disabilities of course, and in some cases these students are the bullies. For the well being of all students, bullying prevention has become a priority for the federal government, and countless organizations are working on the issue, from MTV to the Cartoon Network.

How to stop it? It’s a complex answer. But raising awareness is a first step, said Julie Hertzog, director of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, which sponsors bullying prevention month.

“The culture of bullying won’t end until people across the country take action and show children and teens that they care,” she said in a statement. “This a very real and painful issue that kids are facing. But they don’t have to face it alone, and bullying can be prevented if we all work together to change the culture.”

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A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.