June 18th, 2013 11:59 am | by ASHLEY JOCZ News | Posted In: Schools, Activism, PDX News

David Douglas, Lake Oswego Among the One-Third of Oregon School Districts That Fail to Comply With State Anti-Bullying Laws

lake_oswego_high_schoolLake Oswego High School

One-third of Oregon school districts fail to comply with state anti-bullying laws, including three Portland-area districts, according to a new report issued by the Oregon Safe Schools & Communities Coalition. 

The organization's second annual State of Safe Schools Act report says that 70 Oregon school districts changed their anti-bullying policies in 2012 to better protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.

But the report says three local school districts—Lake Oswego, David Douglas and Riverdale—have policies on harassment, intimidation, bullying and cyberbullying that "need updating and/or modification to achieve substantial compliance with current Oregon statutes."

Lake Oswego School District spokeswoman Nancy Duin says her district's low ranking in the report is simply a matter of semantics.

"If the report is suggesting that we're not paying attention to these issues, I have an issue with that because I think we are," says Duin, whose school district has seen severe bullying. "The only thing we're missing (from our policy) is the definition of sexual orientation."

Representatives for the David Douglas School District—whose high school has 2,893 students, the largest in the state—concede their anti-bullying policies may need some work.

"I think that every school has a bullying problem, and I think we do handle bullying well," David Douglas superintendent Donald Grotting says. "But maybe I need to review our policy a little bit more." 

Portland Public Schools and the Beaverton School District both got top marks from the OSSCC for their policies.

School districts' policies should match Senate Bill 1555, passed in 2012, that amends the state's anti-bullying statute to require anti-bullying trainings and mandatory reporting of bullying by school employees, the OSSCC report says.

The study also includes some sad statistics about LBGQ youth in Oregon schools, including: 53 percent were harrassed at school in the previous 30 days, compared to 28 percent of straight kids; 15 percent skipped school due to feeling unsafe, compared to 4 percent of straight youth; and 20 percent LGBQ Oregon have attempted suicide, compared to 5 percent of straight youth.

Spokespeople for Riverdale School District and OSSCC did not immediately return requests for comment.

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