WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) on Thursday re-introduced the Safe Schools Improvement Act in the U.S. House, a bill to help ensure a safe learning environment at schools nationwide and provide necessary resources to prevent school bullying and reduce the rising drop-out rate.
The Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) would require schools and school districts across the country that receive federal funds to adopt codes of conduct specifically prohibiting bullying and harassment, including on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Act would also require that states report data on bullying and harassment to the Department of Education.
Sánchez has introduced the SSIA in each of the previous three sessions of Congress, and the bill currently has 59 co-sponsors.
“We owe it to our children to protect them and make sure they have a safe and comfortable learning environment at school,” said Sánchez. “We are failing our students if they are afraid to come to school because they face daily threats and intimidation.”
“Bullying can destroy a student’s self-esteem and wreck their academic progress. No child deserves to be bullied or harassed, and it’s time we made this violent and destructive behavior a relic of the past,” she said.
The Safe Schools Improvement Act has garnered support more than 100 organizations, including the National PTA; the American Federation of Teachers; the American Library Association; Big Brothers Big Sisters of America; the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network; the Human Rights Campaign; the National Council of La Raza; and the Anti-Defamation League.
“The Safe Schools Improvement Act is a bipartisan response to the unsettling fact that schools remain hostile and unsafe for our nation’s youth,” said Dr. Eliza Byard, Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network executive director. “No student should ever feel compelled to skip school or not be able to succeed in class as the result of unchecked bullying and harassment.”
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