This past weekend, I was pleased to join the Youth Anti-Bullying Rally hosted by Operation No Gangs and I commend all of the young people that were there taking a stand against bullying.
There is absolutely no place in our society for bullying or discrimination, whether it be in our schools, communities or in our military. As a father and grandparent, I can't imagine what it would be like for any of them to feel afraid in their classrooms, on a playground, or even online.
Over 13 million American youths will be bullied over the course of this year alone, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people in our nation. A third of middle school and high school students have reported being bullied during the school year and almost 3 million students have said they were pushed, shoved, tripped, even spit on.
These days bullying doesn't just end at the school bell anymore, it now follows our children from the hallways to their cell phones and to their computer screens. Bullying can have destructive consequences for our young people. As members of the El Paso community, we can all take steps to help prevent bullying and create a climate in our schools in which all of our children can feel safe and a climate in which they all can feel like they belong.
Last year, I joined the "It Gets Better" campaign and launched a video to spread awareness of the startling prevalence of bullying in America's schools, and to offer messages of encouragement to victimized teenagers, often LGBT youth, from real adults and youth alike who have been through difficult times and have gone on to find acceptance and happiness.
It Gets Better is a great example of a larger movement around the country to reach out to young people who find themselves the target of ignorance and hate.
I'm also a co-sponsor of the Student Non-Discrimination Act and the Safe Schools Improvement Act, protecting both LGBT students from discrimination and bullying in schools.
Yesterday, President Obama expressed his support for both of these critical pieces of legislation that are important in addressing bullying in our schools and safeguarding our most vulnerable students.
As your Congressman, I have the duty and responsibility to serve our community and I will continue working to ensure that schools and communities provide a safe environment where all students have the opportunity to succeed free from discrimination.
Please visit my website at www.Reyes.House.gov to get the latest news about my activities in Congress and be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr for updates.