City officials announce plans to fight school bullying

Posted: Updated:

The City Council Committee on Education held a hearing Monday with schools Chancellor Carmen Farina to announce new programs and incentives to fight bullying.

The shakeup comes after the deadly stabbing of 15-year-old Matthew McCree in a Bronx classroom. Police say McCree was stabbed by fellow student Abel Cedeno. Another teen was injured in the stabbing. A family spokesperson for Cedeno says he was bullied for years leading up to the incident.

The city has dedicated $8 million toward expanding anti-bullying programs. There will be a bullying complaint portal through which families can report discrimination, harassment or bullying online, and parents will be informed of an investigative outcome within 10 school days. That portal will launch in 2019.

Staff, students and families will also be involved in mental health first aid training to help identify a student in crisis.

Next, middle and high schools will be able to apply for funding to create their own student-led groups called gender and sexuality alliances and respect-for-all clubs.

Lastly, 300 schools with high bullying rates will get special support and training for staff and students. The education committee chair spoke about bullying he experienced as a gay man and how important it is to talk with students about being LGBTQ.

The full City Council will vote Tuesday on legislation that will require reporting on which schools have a student-run gender alliance, as well as the number of teachers, principals and administrators who go through LGBTQ and gender nonconforming training.

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