From guest blogger Nirvi Shah:
President Barack Obama today endorsed a pair of bills that would protect students who are bullied at school and in some cases, provide for students or their families to collect damages from school districts that don’t act swiftly or strongly enough in students’ defense.
In a statement, the White House said “the President and his Administration have taken many steps to address the issue of bullying. He is proud to support the Student Non-Discrimination Act, introduced by Senator [Al] Franken and Congressman [Jared] Polis, and the Safe Schools Improvement Act, introduced by Senator [Robert] Casey and Congresswoman Linda Sanchez. These bills will help ensure that all students are safe and healthy and can learn in environments free from discrimination, bullying and harassment.”
Earlier today, the White House hosted a screening of the new documentary “Bully”.
The President’s endorsement of the bill coincides with the National Day of Silence, a day designated by the Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network to encourage people to take some form of a vow of silence to draw attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools.
Obama has shown support for anti-bullying measures several times, including hosting a summit at the White House on bullying last year and speaking before the national broadcast of another bullying documentary that aired recently on the Cartoon Network.
“Today’s announcement is a vital show of support to students everywhere of all identities, backgrounds and beliefs who face bullying and harassment in school,” GLSEN executive director Eliza Byard said. “By speaking out on GLSEN’s Day of Silence in support of these two critical bills, the President has given greater hope to students who often feel that they have nowhere to turn.”