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Linda Sánchez Calls for Safe Schools for All Students (Mar. 14, 2013)

March 14, 2013
Press Release

Congresswoman introduces Safe Schools Improvement Act to help prevent bullying  

Washington, DC –Today, Congresswoman Linda Sánchez (CA-38) introduced The Safe Schools Improvement Act, which would help ensure a safe learning environment at schools nationwide.  This bi-partisan legislation would give schools more resources they need to prevent school bullying and reduce the rising drop-out rate.

“We owe it to our children to protect them and make sure they have a safe and comfortable learning environment at school,” said Congresswoman 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.”     

The Safe Schools Improvement Act would require schools and school districts across the country to institute a policy that bans bullying and harassment. This legislation would ensure that students are protected from harassment whether they are being targeted based on their race, gender, real or perceived sexual orientation, or any other basis. Congresswoman Sánchez has introduced The Safe Schools Improvement Act in each of the previous three sessions of Congress, and currently has 59 co-sponsors.

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. We thank Congresswoman Sánchez for her continued efforts to provide federal leadership on a critical issue affecting millions of young people.”

“Bullying remains an epidemic in our schools and occurs at alarming rates based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Chad Griffin, Human Rights Campaign President. “We thank Congresswoman Sanchez for her continued leadership in protecting our nation’s young people by once again introducing the Safe Schools Improvement Act.”

“It’s essential that each child has a safe place to learn and views his or her school as a sanctuary,” said Janet Murguía, National Council of La Raza President and CEO. “Research shows that Latino students feel disproportionately targeted, particularly if they also identify as LGBT.  Nearly three-quarters of Latino students say that they have experienced bullying due to their background.  NCLR commends Representative Linda Sánchez for her longstanding commitment to ensure that we take the steps we can to stop bullying by setting baseline standards to monitor this problem in every school.”

Since coming to Congress, Congresswoman Sánchez has been recognized as a leader in working to make schools safe for all students.  In 2011, President Obama invited Congresswoman Sánchez to a White House conference on bullying prevention because of her leadership in Congress in advocating for anti-bullying legislation.