June 9, 2011
ATLANTA - The hospital social workers at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, who help families navigate complex health care and social service systems, have seen a marked increase in the number of parents reporting problems with bullying in school. To help the social workers better understand bullying, its effects, and what can be done about it, Emily F. Suski, a Clinical Supervising Attorney with the HeLP Legal Services Clinic, presented on the topic to social workers at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Egleston and Scottish Rite hospitals. The presentations took place on May 25 and 26, 2011.
According to federal government resources, bullying can cause numerous deleterious health and social effects, including depression and suicide.
Suski explained the law in Georgia regarding bullying, which requires school administrators to investigate any instance of alleged bullying. She also explained that the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights has published guidance to school systems to let them know that bullying can constitute illegal harassment if it both violates laws prohibiting discrimination on the bases of race, color national origin, disability, or sex and creates a hostile environment.
"Parents and social workers are frustrated by increased incidences of bullying," said Suski. "I appreciated the opportunity to explain to the front-line social workers how it affects health and what they and parents can do about it."