The American Civil Liberties Union is inviting the people the state of Connecticut's new anti-bullying legislation impacts most, students, to share their perspectives.
Public Act 11-232, which goes into effect July 1, 2012, represents an effort to strengthen school bullying laws. The legislation will require every school district to implement a new safe school climate plan and to have a safe school climate specialist to oversee anti-bullying initiatives. Additionally, each school within a district will have a point person to lead safe school climate efforts.
For a more complete overview of the new anti-bullying legislation, see the attached PDF.
The question this year for the ACLU Foundation of Connecticut's 2012 First Amendment Essay Contest is: "A new Connecticut law requires schools to prohibit bullying, including communication that causes 'emotional harm.' Explain whether the mandate to stop bullying can be reconciled with the right to freedom of speech and support your argument."
The contest is for high school students.
Essays should be no longer than 1,000 words. As a point of reference, past contest winners often included students' opinions and experiences and facts about real cases relevant to the topic.
The Ethel S. Sorokin First Prize winner will get $1,000. Second place wins $500 and third will get $250.
Rules and information about the contest are available at acluct.org/essay.