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The Safe Schools Improvement Act, aimed at helping to stop bullying nationwide, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in May 2009. Sincethen, the bill has grown from 34 co-sponsors to 101.
But more action is still needed to pass this legislation. The Gay and Lesbian Straight Education Network, along with Sirdeaner Walker, mother of 11-year-old bullycide victim Carl Joseph Walker Hoover, have launched a petition to help gain support for the bill.
“It is difficult to put into words what it feels like to remember that terrible day,” Walker said. “But it is not difficult at all to do something positive in Carl’s memory. That is why I hope you will join me in taking a moment from your busy day to reflect on Carl’s life and his tragic suicide – and to remember that bullying in schools has very serious and life-threatening consequences.”
Walker has spent the year since Carl’s death raising awareness of the fact that bullying is a national public health crisis. She has appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” ABC’s “World News” and “Anderson Cooper 360,” among others, to tell Carl’s story and to call for action against bullying. She also has testified on Capitol Hill in support of the Safe Schools Improvement Act.
The act, H.R. 2262, would require schools that receive federal education funding to implement a comprehensive, enumerated anti-bullying policy, and to report bullying incidents.
The bill is endorsed by the National Safe Schools Partnership, a coalition led by GLSEN and representing more than 60 national education, health, civil rights, youth development and other organizations. Members include Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Association of Schools Psychologists and the National Education Association.
The petition can be found at http://www.stopstudentbullying.org/carl.cfm.