Welcome to the Department of Justice, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller

For immediate release - Friday, October 19, 2001.

Contact Bob Brammer - 515-281-6699.

Attorney General, School Board Association, and ISEA Offer Resources for Schools to Deal with Harassment Related to Terrorist Attacks

Des Moines. Attorney General Tom Miller is teaming up with the Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) and Iowa State Education Association (ISEA) to provide Iowa schools and teachers with several resources to deal with the possibility of harassment and bullying that might result from the September 11th terrorist attack on the United States.

Miller and Ronald Rice, Executive Director of IASB sent a letter to several hundred Iowa school superintendents, school board presidents, and Area Education Agency administrators. A similar letter is going to about 3,000 Iowa teacher-leaders from Miller and Jolene Franken, President of the ISEA.

"We are fortunate not to have experienced significant acts of hatred against students in Iowa," Miller said. "Still, it is important that schools be prepared to deal with any such threats swiftly and appropriately."

The letters say: "We must help our young people understand that these crimes are the responsibility of the individuals who committed them, not of ethnic or religious groups. Americans of every ethnic and religious heritage share intense depths of pain and anger at this attack. Many of our immigrant families came to this country precisely to escape this kind of violence. Incidents of harassment or hate crimes against Muslim students or those of Arab-American heritage must not be tolerated."

The letters suggest several tools to help school administrators cope with the challenge:

  • Protecting Students from Harassment and Hate Crime. The guidebook details specific positive steps schools can take to respond to harassment and includes sample policies, protocols, resources and places to go for technical assistance. Protecting Students from Harassment and Hate Crime is available on the Internet from the U.S. Department of Education at www.ed.gov/pubs/Harassment/ The guidebook was developed by the National Association of Attorneys General and the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, and has been endorsed by the National School Boards Association.


  • Iowa School Safety Leadership Handbook. The Handbook will be sent to all districts and schools later this fall. The reference book is the result of collaboration by the Iowa Department of Education, the Iowa School Board Association, the Iowa Emergency Management Division, the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy, the Highway Patrol and the Iowa Attorney General's Office. It includes information about school safety, sample policies, prevention materials and laws of concern to Iowa educators.


  • "Easing the Teasing," an anti-bullying conference set for November 14 and 15 in Ames. Information about this conference and other valuable resources are available at the Iowa Department of Education web site, at www.state.ia.us/educate.


  • A Plan for Keeping Our Schools and Communities Safe, a step-by-step guide for developing a crisis plan. The guide can be found at the web site of the Iowa Association of School Boards: www.ia-sb.org/safetyplan.asp. The guide can help schools develop a plan for how schools and a community will respond in the event of a violent incident.


"Your efforts toward making your schools safer and more welcoming and inclusive for all students are more important now than ever," the letters say in closing. "We must all reinforce the message that destructive reactions diminish us as people and that we must channel our strong emotions into constructive paths of embracing and helping one another. Thank you for your continuing efforts to keep students safe."

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