This 7-part series will cover the history of bullying legislation and anti-bullying efforts within the state of Colorado beginning with the first definition of bullying by the Legislature in 2001.
Why This Matters
According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count Data Center, from 2005 through 2010, the state of Colorado saw 256 suicides of teens between 15 and 19 years old. While the state does not track reported causes of suicides, a 2011 United States Department of Education (USDOE) “Analysis of State Bullying Laws and Policies,” suggests school violence and other negative physical and mental consequences are “often linked explicitly or by inference to bullying.”
While not all of Colorado’s teen suicides are likely at least partially linked to bullying, the USDOE analysis specifically cites Colorado’s 1999 Columbine High School shooting as “the first of many high-profile incidents of violent behavior that appeared to implicate bullying as an underlying cause” (ix). The analysis goes on to cite several youth suicides across the country as “linked to chronic bullying” (ix).
Given the tragic national and state implications of inattention to bullying, it is increasingly important to understand anti-bullying legislation and related actions within the state of Colorado as a means for understanding the issue’s status in the state and as a parallel for efforts around the nation.