Hillary Clinton has launched a plan to combat bullying in schools.
Titled “Better Than Bullying,” the plan, released Thursday on the Clinton campaign’s website, calls bullying an “urgent crisis” and specifically draws attention to the issue of “bias” toward youth from vulnerable communities.
“Children with disabilities are mocked for their perceived differences,” the plan stated. “LGBT and Muslim students are targeted because of who they are or how they pray. Latino and immigrant children turn on the television and are told they don’t belong. When bias influences our children and manifests itself in the form of bullying, we have to act.”
The proposal would provide $500 million in funding to states that develop an antibullying strategy, which would support a list of “national priorities.” These priorities include developing antibullying laws, investing in behavioral health programs, curbing cyberbullying, supporting educators with training and resources, and providing health and mental health services for victims of abuse.
The plan also promises that Clinton, as president, would take federal action. This includes helping to pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act, which would modify school codes of conduct to prohibit bullying based on race, religion, gender, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
LGBT youth are far likelier than their straight peers to experience bullying. A recent survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 34 percent of LGBT youth were harassed at school, compared to 19 percent of heterosexual and cisgender respondents. Likewise, 28 percent of LGB youth experience cyberbullying, versus 14 percent of straight youth.
The National Education Association reports a rise in bullying since Donald Trump began his presidential campaign. Members of the teachers’ union have observed children calling for the deportation of other kids and hurling remarks that mirror the Republican's racist, sexist, and anti-immigrant rhetoric.
“Kids feel like they have been given permission, and they are invoking the name of Donald Trump,” said NEA president Lily Eskelsen García.
On October 20, Clinton participated in Spirit Day, an annual event that draws attention to the bullying of LGBT youth. In support, Clinton tweeted a purple version of her campaign logo, along with an implied message for Trump.
"This #SpiritDay, let's take a stand for LGBT youth and send a clear message to all our kids: In the end, bullies always lose," she said.
This message was echoed in a new ad released by the Clinton campaign in conjunction with the "Better Than Bullying" plan. The video features a young person named Bryce who was harassed in the past due to his muscular dystrophy. He recounts his experience observing Trump as he mocked a reporter with a disability on television.
“I don’t want bullies in my life, and I especially don’t want one in the White House,” he says.
Watch the video below.