The U.S. Department of Education is sending out a warning to schools around the country that they could soon be prosecuted for failing to stop bullying.
The agency sent out a letter Tuesday saying schools could be breaking federal anti-discrimination laws if they tolerate or fail to address ethnic and sexual-based bullying.
"No one should ever feel harassed or unsafe in a school simply because they act or think or dress differently than others," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said.
The warning is in response to several high profile cases, one of which involved a gay Rutgers University student who reportedly committed suicide after a sexual encounter in his dorm room was secretly posted online.
"Certainly the unspeakable tragedies over the past several weeks contribute to our sense of urgency, and it's important that the public know there are things schools and universities can and should be doing," Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary for civil rights, said.