NEW YORK - June 5, 2012 - The following is a statement from GLSEN Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard about today's passage of the Youth Bullying Prevention Act of 2012 (B19-11) by the Council of the District of Columbia. The safe schools bill will require DC Public Schools and other District agencies that work with youth to pass comprehensive anti-bullying policies. It will also provide District educators with bullying prevention tools and resources.
"GLSEN applauds Chairman Kwame Brown and Councilmembers Michael Brown and Jim Graham for introducing this critical legislation. We would also like to thank Councilmember Tommy Wells for shepherding this bill forward and working closely with stakeholders like GLSEN to ensure that the District passes comprehensive anti-bullying legislation.
"We also recognize D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray for his continued leadership on the issue of bullying and encourage him to promptly sign this bill and to ensure that DC schools are safer for all students.
"GLSEN's Office of Public Policy has partnered with District agencies such as the D.C. Public Schools and the D.C. Office of Human Rights to assist with city-wide efforts addressing the issue of bullying. We look forward to expanding this role under this legislation as a member of the Youth Bullying Prevention Task Force that will investigate and provide solutions for the needs of students in school.
"Today's successful vote on the Youth Bullying Prevention Act of 2012 is another victory paving the way for students to receive an education free from harmful distractions caused by bullying and harassment. By passing this piece of legislation, the District of Columbia joins 15 states that have passed enumerated anti-bullying laws with specific protections on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression."
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.