Today, Dr. Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Desert) announced his endorsement and co-sponsorship of H.R. 1199, the Safe Schools Improvement Act of 2013. The bill instructs local educational agencies to establish policies that prevent and prohibit bullying and harassment. These policies must specifically enumerate what is prohibited, and must include bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
"This legislation is a firm step toward strengthening our anti-bullying efforts in the 36th district and across the country," said Dr. Ruiz. "It is critical that our anti-bullying policies incorporate the measures necessary to protect our LGBT youth and every student. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the isle to advance measures that stop bullying and protect our students no matter their background, sexual orientation, or gender identity."
"No student should be bullied or harassed at school," said Doug Hairgrove, president of Safe Schools Desert Cities. "Legislation is absolutely needed to curb bullying and harassment of all students and it is important that educational policy state what is prohibited and that it include bullying."
A recent Human Rights Campaign (HRC) survey showed that over 50 percent of LGBT youth say they have been verbally harassed. Furthermore, they rate bullying as one of their top concerns, whereas non-LGBT youth say their top concerns are classes and getting into college.
The Safe Schools Improvement Act of 2013 is a bipartisan bill endorsed by The Human Rights Campaign; Parents Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG); and the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network.