Individuals, from the President of the United States to a local rapper, are taking a stand against bullying, a growing problem among youth today.
In one case, Senator Bob Casey reached across the aisle to push for a bill that would require school districts to get tougher on bullying. Meanwhile, President Obama and the First Lady will open the doors to the White House on Thursday for a bullying prevention program. In Philly, Sen. Williams and local celebrities will host their own forum on bullying the same day.
Casey (D-PA) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) introduced bipartisan legislation entitled the Safe Schools Improvement Act that will help prevent bullying in schools.
The Act would require schools and districts receiving designated federal funds to adopt codes of conduct specifically prohibiting bullying and harassment, including conduct based on a student’s actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion. The legislation would ensure that schools and school districts implement effective prevention programs in order to better prevent and respond to incidences of bullying and harassment.
In September, the School District of Philadelphia implented a tougher policy condemning such acts. The revised anti-bullying and harassment policies outlines the procedures by which students, guardians and school personnel can identify and report problems. The language in the policies was revised by a panel of state board officials.
But what the district's policy doesn't stipulate, but the federal legislation calls for is requiring that states report data on incidences of bullying and harassment to the Department of Education.
Meanwhile, the president and first lady will host a conference bringing together communities from across the nation who have been affected by bullying as well as those who are taking action to address it.
In our neck of the woods, a coalition of folks are going to host their own bullying prevention program.
Sen. Anthony Williams, Philly rapper Freeway and local boxer Eddie Chambers, will school fifth-graders at Universal Institute Charter School on how to take a stand against bullying. The workshops are in conjunction with Children’s Hospital and the Philadelphia Collaborative Violence Prevention Center. The event begins at 1:30 p.m. at the school located at 811 S. 15th St.