Congresswoman Jackson Lee, a founding member of the Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus, introduced a new anti-bullying bill on the House floor today:
"According to the Josephson Institute of Ethics, one third of all high school students say that violence is a big problem at their school, and nearly one in four say they do not feel very safe there. Bullying is not just a schoolyard anymore, it is a crisis that's taking over our nation.
"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. They are never out of harm's reach. This needs to end. Americans children should be protected, and no child should be persecuted for exercising their American right to be themselves.
"As we saw recently with the viral video of bus monitor Karen Klein being verbally assaulted, 21st century bullying has reached beyond its previous scope of only affecting young people. Now, our seniors are getting bullied, there is bullying in the workplace, and some would even suggest that there is bullying between the two parties on Capitol Hill. When will it all end?
"Every year, millions of Americans are physically or psychologically attacked on the basis of their skin color, ethnicity, physical or mental abilities, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, religion, or age. In 2012, at least thirteen million children will be teased, taunted, and physically assaulted by their peers, making bullying the most common form of violence our nation's youth experience this year. We also recognize that bullying is not confined within classroom walls. As more retirees move into assisted living facilities, experiences with bullying among our elderly communities are also on the rise. This disturbing trend, coupled with a lack of comprehensive federal protections on the issue, underscores the significant role the Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus will play in addressing the issue of bullying nationwide.
"It is time for us to come to a conclusive solution to America's bullying crisis. My bill, HR 6019 "Juvenile Accountability Block Grants Reauthorization and Bullying Prevention and Intervention Act," provides the solution that we need.
"HR 6019 calls for the reauthorization of the Juvenile Accountability Block Grants at $40 million for each FY 2013-2017, adds a purpose area to provide for grant funding to States for programs that address bullying, cyberbullying prevention, and gang prevention and intervention in addition to expressing a Sense of Congress on the importance of best practices.
"My modification would ensure that not only prevention but also intervention programs is taken into account when addressing the issue of bullying, cyber bullying prevention, and gang prevention programs in our nation.
"Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (TX-21) is an original co-sponsor on this important bill. It will provide peace of mind for families of bullying victims and persecuted individuals everywhere.
"It is time for us to stand together and stop bullying. Everyone deserves to feel safe and free from persecution. I urge my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to vote in favor or my bill in order to keep U.S. citizens safe from harassment and to work toward making America bully-free."