Bullying Victimization as a Disability in Public Elementary and Secondary Education

25 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2013

See all articles by Douglas E. Abrams

Douglas E. Abrams

University of Missouri School of Law

Date Written: December 10, 2013


Since the student assault on Columbine High School in 1999, virtually all states have enacted or amended anti-bullying legislation. The laws require state education departments or local public school districts to adopt written anti-bullying policies, teach prevention curricula, discipline bullies, and cooperate with law enforcement authorities when bullying turns criminal. Local enforcement of these legislative mandates, however, may be inhibited by disincentives such as curriculum-development costs and risks of lawsuits by parents of disciplined bullies.

Administrators and teachers may feel greater incentives to enforce statutory mandates to protect bullying (and cyberbullying) victims if these school authorities perceive the effects of victimization as similar to the effects of disabilities recognized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) since 1975. Professor Abrams’ article discusses two reasons why the effects of bullying victimization can resemble the effects of IDEA disabilities -- both create educational deprivation that inhibits learning, and both appeared on legislative radar screens only after being largely ignored for decades.

Keywords: bullying, victimization, public, elementary, secondary, education, Columbine, anti-bullying, disability, disabilities

Suggested Citation

Abrams, Douglas E., Bullying Victimization as a Disability in Public Elementary and Secondary Education (December 10, 2013). 77 Missouri Law Review 781 (2013), University of Missouri School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-24, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2366105

Douglas E. Abrams (Contact Author)

University of Missouri School of Law ( email )

Missouri Avenue & Conley Avenue
Columbia, MO MO 65211
United States
573-882-0307 (Phone)

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