Bullying remains the hottest of hot button issues in special education law. In an earlier installment, I explained the early cases laying the conceptual groundwork for the proposition that failure to react to bullying can constitute a denial of FAPE under IDEA. In the last installment, I discussed the seminal decision of TK & SK ex rel LK v. New York City Dept of Educ 779 F.Supp.2d 289, 56 IDELR 228 (E.D.N.Y. 4/25/2011). This case is important not just because it analyzes special education law principles involving bullying, but also because it provides a thorough review of the social science literature on bullying. You should read this case and you can do so here .
In this installment, I begin to review the literature on bullying. Please note the court provided these words in its opinion. I cannot take credit for the analysis: E. Bullying in America Were bullying characterized as a disease affecting America's youth, a team from the Center for Disease Control charged with investigating epidemics would have been called in to study it. Joseph L. Wright, Address at American Medical Association Educational Forum on Adolescent Health: Youth Bullying 23 (2002), available at http://www. ama-assn.org/amal/pub/upload/mm/39/youthbullying.pdf. ("If [bullying] were a medical issue, for example an infectious disease in my pediatrics practice, we would have the Epidemic Intelligence Service people from the Centers for Control and Prevention investigate it. The prevalence and epidemiology is striking."). The problem is pervasive; it is perceived by educators as serious, particularly in the middle school years. Michaela Gulemetova, Darrel Drury, and Catherine P. Bradshaw, Findings Form the National Education Association's Nationwide Study of Bullying: Teachers' and Education Support Professionals' Perspectives, in White House Conference on Bullying Prevention, at 11-12 (March 10, 2011), available at http://www. stopbullying.gov/references/white_house_conference/index.html. ("Over 40 percent of [teachers and support staff surveyed] indicated that bullying was a moderate or major problem in their school, with 62 percent indicating that they witnessed two or more incidents of bullying in the last month, while 41 percent witnessed bullying once a week or more."). It is the most common type of violence in our schools. Macklem, supra, at 7. The issue first seized the attention of the American public after the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School that killed fifteen students and wounded two dozen more. Susan P. Limber, Addressing Youth Bullying Behaviors, in American Medical Association Educational Forum on