Cantwell, Murray Back Bill to Prevent Bullying in Schools

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) cosponsored the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) to help prevent bullying in schools. Cantwell and Murray introduced the bill today in the Senate with Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), and other senators.
“Students have a right to learn in a safe environment without fear of being victimized by their peers,” said Senator Maria Cantwell. “This legislation would fill a long-neglected gap in current school policies by putting a system in place to comprehensively address issues of bullying or harassment in our schools.”
“As a mom and former teacher, I know how important it is for students to feel safe and secure at school,” said Senator Patty Murray. “This bill will make sure students across the country are able to excel in school without having to worry about being bullied or harassed.”
The Safe Schools Improvement Act would require schools and districts receiving designated federal funds to adopt codes of conduct specifically prohibiting 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. The Act would ensure that schools and school districts implement effective prevention programs in order to better prevent and respond to incidences of bullying and harassment, and it would require that states report data on incidences of bullying and harassment to the U.S. Department of Education.
Other cosponsors of the Safe Schools Improvement Act include Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Roland Burris (D-IL).
Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-CA 39th District) introduced H.R. 2262, the companion legislation, in the House of Representatives last year.
The Safe Schools Improvement Act has broad support from educators, administrators and civil rights organizations, including the American Association of School Administrators; American Federation of Teachers; American School Health Association; National Association of School Psychologists; 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 National Council of La Raza.