Amid Concerns About School Safety, Legislation Would Address Root Causes Such As Bullying
Washington – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden today co-sponsored the Safe Schools Improvement Act, a bill that works to ensure no child is afraid to go to school for fear of unchecked bullying and harassment.
“Students and their parents should know their schools as safe and welcoming places to learn, with assurances there is a zero tolerance policy on bullying,” Wyden said. “This legislation would ensure school districts across the country take every possible step to protect children from harassment, in an effort to keep students on a safe and steady path to graduation.”
The legislation, introduced by Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), also is co-sponsored by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Tom Carper (D-DE), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mark Warner (D-VA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chris Coons (D-DE), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Ed Markey (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Gary Peters (D-MI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Tina Smith (D-MN)
Specifically, the Safe Schools Improvement Act would:
- Require schools and districts receiving federal funding to specifically prohibit bullying and harassment, including conduct based on a student’s actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion.
- Ensure schools and school districts focus on effective prevention programs in order to better prevent and respond to incidents of bullying and harassment both in school and online.
- Require states report data on incidents of bullying and harassment to the Department of Education
Numerous education, health, law enforcement and youth development organizations support SSIA, including the American Federation of Teachers, American School Health Association, Learning Disabilities Association of America, National Association of School Psychologists, National Down Syndrome Society, National Education Association, National Parent Teacher Association, American Association of University Women, Asian American Justice Center, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, Human Rights Campaign and the Trevor Project.