Target: The Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus
Goal: Demonstrate support for policies that protect LGBTQ youth and others in public schools from harmful bullying.
In the fall of 2010, an epidemic of LGBTQ youth committing suicide due to bullying began garnering massive public attention. Now, Congressman Mike Honda seeks to help put a stop to the continued harassment faced by these youth and others with the launch of an official Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus. As multiple acts of legislation aimed at protecting LGBTQ youth and other students pend before Congress, it is crucial that the caucus and its recommendations be taken seriously, and that concerned citizens voice their support.
Studies by the U.S. Deptartment of Education have shown that as many as one in three students from grades 6-12 are affected by bullying and harassment which can have serious consequences for the student’s mental and physical health, and the statistics only increase when focusing on LGBTQ youth specifically. The effects of this discrimination are serious, ranging from a lack of interest in academics to increased risk for suicide and depression: gay and lesbian youth especially are up to three times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight classmates. Most have no idea how to find a supportive adult in their school to help them tackle the problem.
Two anti-bullying bills endorsed by President Obama, the Student Non-Discrimination Act and Safe Schools Improvement act, pend before Congress. The first, introduced in 2011, provides federal protection against discrimination towards public school students who identify as and/or appear to be LGBTQ. The second ensures that all public schools nationwide create clear prohibitions against bullying and harassment, and encourages use of effective preventative strategies. As the Anti-Bullying Caucus could prove a key player in the passage of both of these bills, it is imperative that citizens demonstrate their support.
Dear Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus,
As youth continue to endure harassment, bullying, and discrimination in our nation’s public schools, it is imperative that attention be given to this issue on a national level. Your caucus will doubtless play an important role in this, and in pushing through protective legislation such as the Student Non-Discrimination Act and Safe Schools Improvement Act.
As a concerned citizen who understands the drastic and sometimes deadly effects of the current bullying epidemic, I want you to know that I am behind you 100%. Thank you for helping to make public schools a safe environment for youth of all races, genders, religions, body types, sexual identities, and gender expressions. I hope that you will continue taking a stand against harassment, and urge you to take swift action to protect at-risk youth.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: duchesssa via stock.xchng