WHEREAS, reports of bullying in schools across the country show that it poses a problem and is a concern for students, educators and parents; and
WHEREAS, just as educators have a right to work in a safe environment, students have a right to attend schools without having to fear for their safety or the threat of psychological intimidation or physical harm; and
WHEREAS, students struggle every day with how to cope with the negative effects of bullying, and schoolchildren are committing suicide as a result of bullying by classmates; and
WHEREAS, many affected students need to speak confidentially with trained mental health experts to ensure their anonymity because of fear retaliation, and many schools lack enough mental health professionals, guidance counselors, school psychologists and school social workers to adequately address bullying; and
WHEREAS, teachers and other school staff can help students with bullying during the school hours but need help outside the school day, and existing programs and policies designed to combat bullying can benefit from additional supports:
RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will call upon Congress, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the President to develop a nationwide anti-bullying telephone hotline for students, parents and school staff to receive support and counseling on bullying and related issues through a program modeled after the anti-bullying hotline created by the United Federation of Teachers and operated by the Mental Health Association of New York City known as the BRAVEline.