September 25, 2018
West Palm Beach City Commissioners unanimously adopted a resolution yesterday aimed at eliminating bullying and harassment in city facilities and at programs the city provides at the Mandel Public Library, as well as at the community centers at Coleman, Gaines, Howard and South Olive Parks.
The resolution was proposed by City Commissioner Kelly Shoaf, following a request by the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC) - Florida's oldest independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
PBCHRC provided Shoaf with examples of children who were bullied not only because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, but also because of other personal characteristics such as race, religion, ethnicity, gender, disability, physical appearance, weight, citizenship status, economic status and academic ability.
"One of the most important tasks city officials are charged with is ensuring the safety and well-being of our youngest residents," said PBCHRC President and Founder Rand Hoch. "Commissioner Shoaf immediately realized that the city must do more to eliminate bullying."
"Bullying and harassment can interfere with a child's ability to participate in our city's programs and activities," said Shoaf. "All children deserve to be able to play together in an environment that is inclusive and free from bullying."
According to the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, more than 20 percent of students experienced bullying.
In addition to declaring the elimination of bullying as a goal of the city, the resolution also affirms the city's commitment to support local resources aimed at addressing bullying and requires the city's youth programs to have anti-bullying policies.