The House of Representatives may adopt legislation to grant money to states in order to fight bullying in schools, including cyberbullying.
House Resolution 6019 updates the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968. States would get block grants to establish and maintain “accountability-based programs that are designed to enhance school safety, which programs may include research-based bullying prevention, cyberbullying prevention, and gang prevention programs, as well as intervention programs regarding bullying,” according to the text of the bill.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) introduced the bill. The Hill reported that she said, “Everyone deserves to feel safe and free from persecution. I urge my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to vote in favor of my bill in order to keep U.S. citizens safe from harassment and to work toward making America bully-free.”
According to Jackson Lee, bullying is no longer confined to the schoolyard. Cyberbullying follows victims wherever they go.
“Gone are the days that children can come home and seek solace and escape from their bullies; technological advances have made it easy for young people to be tormented on social networks at any time from any place,” said Jackson Lee, according to The Hill.
A college student killed himself after his roommate secretly recorded a private moment and posted it on the Internet. The roommate faced charges, but received a light sentence. Multiple suicides have been linked to cyberbullying.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) reported that as many as half of all children and teenagers are bullied, and of those, at least 10 percent are bullied frequently.
“Children who are bullied experience real suffering that can interfere with their social and emotional development, as well as their school performance,” it stated in a report.
By the close of business on July 9, the bill had not yet come to a vote.
Jackson Lee’s co-sponsors are House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Janice Hahn (D-Calif.), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), Laura Richardson (D-Calif.), and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.).
The bill is called the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant Reauthorization and the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Act of 2012. It would allocate $40 million per year to block grants to states annually starting in 2013 and ending in 2017.
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