Monthly Archives: February 2017

Public service harassment investigations only ‘scratch the surface,’ say experts (Canada)

Two recent investigations by the office of the integrity commissioner into bullying and harassment at federal government agencies only hint at the growing problem of inappropriate workplace behaviour within the public service, experts say.

In mid-February, integrity commissioner Joe Friday released a report detailing abusive behaviour by an executive at the Public Health Agency of Canada, or PHAC, toward staff.

Last week, his office published another report showing how the president and the vice-president of human resources at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, or CFIA, failed to properly investigate harassment complaints against a senior executive there.

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Calgary police receive 13 internal bullying, harassment complaints

(Canadian OH&S News) — A group of thirteen members of the Calgary Police Service (CPS) has filed complaints of bullying and harassment against their employer, according to a joint media statement that the officers sent out on Feb. 21.

Led by Constable Jen Magnus, who publicly resigned from the service after accusing colleagues of harassing behaviour in January, the group said in the statement that the CPS had “failed to provide a safe environment for certain employees, which has resulted in years of workplace bullying and harassment.”

At a police news conference on the morning of the 21st, videos of which were available in online media reports, CPS Chief Roger Chaffin told reporters that the employee complaints were “a really good opportunity for us” to address the alleged problem.

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Arizona LGBTQ students face hostility, survey says

Arizona high schools remain hostile environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students due to a lack of support and resources, according to findings from a recently released survey.

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), which has administered the survey since 1999, argues that the presence of school-based supports for LGBTQ students results in lower levels of harassment and better educational outcomes.

For Arizona specifically, the report found that the vast majority of LGBTQ students regularly heard anti-LGBTQ remarks and had been victimized at school. It also found that many LGBTQ students in Arizona reported discriminatory policies or practices at their schools.

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Japan Moves to Curb LGBT Bullying

Last year, we interviewed lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth from across Japan and what we heard was harrowing: harassment and violence were common, prompting some bullied kids to drop out of school. Our report shed light on the plight of this often-silenced minority, and how even well-intentioned teachers were ill-equipped to respond to cases of LGBT bullying.

That may be about to change.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) has added LGBT-specific protections to its revised draft on the national bullying prevention policy, scheduled to be finalized in March.

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5-day deadline to report school bullying goes to Va. governor

RICHMOND — Virginia principals would be required to notify parents of bullies and their victims within five days of any report of bullying under a bill given final approval by the General Assembly Friday.

While the agreement to require the notification within five school days sailed through the Senate, it sparked debate from some House members who wanted the deadline extended.

“If my child was bullying, was being bullied, I would want to know,” responded the bill’s sponsor, Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, a Democrat representing Virginia’s 41st District.

She hopes the notifications could prevent bullying, including online.

Another delegate, Marcus Simon, said the notification could have helped him.

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Some Teachers, Principals And Students Condemn Trump Transgender Policy

Some students, principals, parents and attorneys have condemned the Trump administration’s decision to remove some federal protections for transgender students.

Those protections had been issued by President Obama, who cited the federal Title IX law, and instructed public schools last year to allow transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identities.

But the Departments of Education and Justice on Tuesday reversed that guidance, allowing state and local officials to pass rules that discriminate on the basis of gender identity without risk of losing federal funds, as we reported.

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Citing harassment, MSU bans whiteboards outside dorm rooms

EAST LANSING – Whiteboards will be banished from dorm room doors at Michigan State University beginning this fall because they’ve increasingly become platforms for harassment, according to university officials.

“The functionality of whiteboards used to outweigh the downsides,” said Kat Cooper, spokeswoman for Residential and Hospitality Services. “That’s not happening anymore.”

Today’s students keep in touch through social media or texting, Cooper said, leaving whiteboards with open space for quickly scrawled harassment in the form of offensive language or images.

Yamani Vinson, a junior who lives in Akers Hall, called the ban “foolish.”

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Split-Half Administration of the 2015 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey

(This report, which issued in December, includes an interesting discussion regarding the inclusion of “repetition” and “power imbalance” in the definition of bullying.  The results are remarkably different, depending on whether they are included or left out.  When they are included, the rate of victimization drops.  Many of my colleagues have questioned whether these elements property belong in the definition of bullying, at least in the school setting.  This report suggests they may be right.

On the other hand, they may be appropriate for identifying and correcting bullying behavior in the workplace.  As the Workplace Bullying Institute has found through multiple surveys, most workplace bullying is conducted by supervisory level employees on subordinates.  The “power imbalance” is baked into the hierarchical administrative structure common to most workplaces.  — Mike Tully, Editor.)

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting, analyzing, and reporting data related to education in the United States and other nations. It fulfills a Congressional mandate to collect, collate, analyze, and report full and complete statistics on the condition of education in the United States; conduct and publish reports and specialized analyses of the meaning and significance of such statistics; assist state and local education agencies in improving their statistical systems; and review and report on education activities in foreign countries.

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Unpacking the concept of reasonableness

(Editor’s Note:  Australia has been a remarkably forceful pioneer in addressing, identifying, and correcting workplace bullying.  One of their greatest contributions was to address the question of what constitutes “reasonable management action” as opposed to bullying by managers.  This is a salient concern, because most workplace bullying is, in fact, conducted by  supervisory-level employees against subordinates.  While there is some dispute over whether an “imbalance of power” is a reasonable factor to include in the definition of bullying — at least at the school level — it’s essentially baked into the workplace through commonly used hierarchical administrative structures.  This article, from a New South Wales site, addresses the issue of reasonableness.  — Mike Tully, Editor)

Across all Australian workplaces the phenomenon of bullying is without doubt a front-and-centre topic.

And as a result, overt instances of bullying in the workplace now tend to be more readily identified than ever before.

One challenging idea for all concerned, however, is this: is it possible that management action that is entirely reasonable could be misconstrued by a worker as an act of bullying?

In both workers’ compensation matters and industrial relations more broadly, the linked concepts of “reasonable management action” carried out in a “reasonable manner” have certainly been difficult to pin down.

We take this opportunity to explore the complex concept of reasonableness as it related specifically to management action and workplace bullying.

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Nearly 1-In-5 LAUSD Students Report They Have Been Bullied This School Year

A report released February 9 by the Los Angeles Unified School District studied student bullying within the system, and the district’s response. According to the report, 19% of all students surveyed claimed that the have experienced bullying at some point in this school year. Furthermore, 43% of student respondents say they have experienced cyber-bullying this school year.

Mother Jones adds that the so-called “Trump Effect” has caused a noticable uptick in bullying and hate speech among students since the election of Donald Trump in November.

“[Children] have access to the same content, language, images, and words that adults have access to,” Robert Trestan, executive director of the Anti-Defamation League of New England Trestan, said, reports the Boston Globe. “And we have seen more and more hate content becoming part of the mainstream.”

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