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Support Comprehensive Anti-Bullying Legislation

Legislative Fact Sheet

(January 1, 2013)

The Issue

  • Bullying crosses the boundaries of age, gender, race, religion, and national origin and affects the wellbeing of all children, whether they are directly involved or bystanders.
  • For the past two years Congress has considered but not agreed on any form of comprehensive anti-bullying legislation. With the recent founding of the Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus, CAIR hopes for renewed interest in adopting such legislation.
  • In particular, CAIR supports the bipartisan introduction of legislation similar to the Safe School Improvement Act of 2011, sponsored by Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Robert Casey (D-PA) and Representative Linda S├ínchez (D-CA). The act calls for an amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to address anti-bullying guidelines and extend protection to encompass students of all races, religions, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds.

What is being asked of members of Congress?

In the 113th congressional session, support and co-sponsorship legislation similar to the Safe School Improvement Act of 2011. If signed into law, such a bill would:

  • Require guidelines and set parameters through state funding that creates a safe school environment for all students. Create and enact anti-bullying guidelines and regulations in regards to a student's background including race, color, natural origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and religion.
  • Require school officials and authorities to inform and report on the issue of bullying to the general public through alternative means, such as anonymous surveys completed by the student body and or staff.
  • Require the president and Congress to be informed in a biennial report by the Secretary of Education that highlights state-by-state assessments of bullying incidents and preventative action taken thus far.

Reasons to support anti-bullying legislation

  • Bullying will continue to afflict our schools unless we take comprehensive action on a national scale.
  • In 2011, during a White House conference on bullying President Obama stated "If there's one goal of this conference, it's to dispel the myth that bullying is just a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up. It's not."
  • In 2011, Senator Mark Kirk, while addressing the Safe School Improvement Act, said, "Our children need to feel protected and safe so they can learn, and I hope the Casey-Kirk bill will encourage schools and districts to develop effective prevention and responsible protocols."
  • Bullying can be deadly and can result in severe consequences not just for the victim but also for the bully.
  • Bullying undermines the very principles that this nation was built upon; the right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
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