WASHINGTON – Virginia's two U.S. senators are looking to help put a stop to bullying in schools.
Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine co-sponsored the Safe Schools Improvement Act on Tuesday, which requires schools to take greater measures to prevent bullying and harassment.
The bill is currently receiving bipartisan support.
Currently, there is no federal law in place to comprehensively and expressly address issues of bullying or harassment.
One in five children between the ages of 12 and 18 will be impacted by bullying, according to a U.S. Department of Education study.
“Every child deserves to learn free from fear of bullying and harassment," said the senators in a news release. “We’re proud to introduce legislation that will help protect Virginia students from harm, and work toward ensuring that our schools make children feel safe and welcome.”
Specifically, the Safe Schools Improvement Act:
- Requires schools and districts receiving federal funding to specifically prohibit 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.
- Ensures that schools and school districts focus on effective prevention programs in order to better prevent and respond to incidents of bullying and harassment both in school and online.
- Requires that states report data on incidents of bullying and harassment to the Department of Education.