U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi Monday introduced the Stop Bullying Act, which would give states incentives to establish task forces to combat bullying in K-12 schools, including anti-LGBTQ bullying.
“Every child should feel safe at school — period. Yet bullying and harassment continues to persist in middle and high schools nationwide,” Krishnamoorthi, an Illinois Democrat, said in a press release. “Hostile school environments have been proven to have a detrimental effect on the academic success and health of each student. To combat this, 13 states and the District of Columbia have convened task forces to evaluate, research, and listen to their community on how to make schools safer for all children, regardless of their actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion. The Stop Bullying Act builds on this model and incentivizes the creation of an antibullying task force in each state across the country.”
The bill would set up a federal grant program through the Department of Education that would award grants to states to establish antibullying task forces. The task forces would include teachers at elementary and secondary schools, school administrators, parents, K-12 students, guidance counselors, child psychologists, lawyers, representatives and professionals from organizations that specializes in supportive services to LGBTQ students, and representatives from the state education agency focused on school improvement. Each task force would prepare a report for the state’s chief education officer and the secretary of Education.
“This bill will empower and provide the structure states need in order to create effective and long-lasting antibullying policies in order to address each of their unique environments surrounding bullying on school grounds,” the release reads. “We continue to learn how the existence of commissions or task forces at the state level can provide long-term benefits, allowing flexibility to states to work on the specific needs of their school districts.”
The legislation is endorsed by GLSEN, which works to end discrimination, harassment, and bullying based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression and to prompt LGBTQ cultural inclusion and awareness in K-12 schools.
Watch Krishnamoorthi’s announcement below.