October is Bullying Prevention Month, when a national spotlight focuses on the millions of American youth who endure bullying, those who bully, and those who witness the abuse. OJJDP will recognize Bullying Prevention Month by hosting Understanding and Preventing Youth Hate Crimes and Identity-Based Bullying: A Virtual Symposium on October 27–28, 2021.
More than 22 percent of students ages 12–18 reported being bullied at school during the 2019 school year, according to the Report on Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2020. Most reports of bullying come from students in middle school (28 percent), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but 16 percent of high school students, 12 percent of students in combined schools, and 9 percent of primary school students also say they experience bullying.
OJJDP designed the symposium with parents, teachers, administrators, school resource officers, social workers, and community youth workers in mind. Office of Justice Programs Acting Assistant Attorney General Amy Solomon will open the event, and OJJDP Acting Administrator Chyrl Jones will offer remarks on day 2. Panels will focus on identity-based bullying—targeting youth for their ethnicity or sexual orientation, for example—and on preventing and mitigating hate crimes by youth. Approximately 15 percent of people known to have committed hate crimes in 2019 were younger than age 18, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Panels will discuss:
- Identity-based bullying and the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, in response to President Biden’s Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the US. OJJDP partners from the Department of Justice Community Relations Service and the Educational Opportunities Section of the Civil Rights Division will lead the panel.
- Other populations vulnerable to identity-based bullying, including racial minority groups and LGBTQ+ youth. Representatives from the National Institutes of Health will facilitate presentations on mitigation strategies and programs.
- The radicalization of youth by hate groups. A former member of a neo-Nazi organization will describe her recruitment at age 14, why she joined, and factors that helped her leave. She will identify characteristics of youth vulnerable to recruitment and signs of radicalization, and will join representatives from Parents for Peace to discuss methods for disengaging youth from hate groups.
- Symbols of hate crimes. Members of law enforcement will discuss images and symbols that indicate interest or membership in hate groups. A prosecutor will share his experiences with young people who committed hate crimes.
- Programs and strategies to disengage youth from hate groups. Representatives from the Anti-Defamation League will present two programs for preventing hate crimes in schools: No Place for Hate and A World of Difference Institute. An American University professor will provide an overview of a curriculum he is developing to help prevent youth radicalization. A representative from the National Association of School Resource Officers will discuss the role school resource officers can play.
OJJDP and the Office's National Training and Technical Assistance Center will also host a webinar series beginning in late November. Designed for juvenile justice personnel, law enforcement, school administrators, teachers, school social workers, and parents, the webinars will address strategies, best practices, and resources to help prevent youth hate crimes and the radicalization of youth by hate groups. The series will continue through 2022. Additional information will be available through OJJDP's JUVJUST news service.
As the OJJDP-supported stopbullying.gov website explains, no single profile captures everyone impacted by bullying, and its repercussions can continue into adulthood. The stopbullying.gov clearinghouse and blog are devoted to identifying and preventing bullying, including cyberbullying and identity-based bullying.