Although most states have enacted anti-bullying laws, Congress is now considering a federal layer of protection through the Safe Schools Improvement Act. Introduced this fall by Senators Robert Casey (D-Pa) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill), the provision requires schools and districts that accept federal funds to establish codes of conduct that prohibit bullying and harassment for any reason. In addition, the legislation calls for states to track and report incidents of bullying to the Department of Education for oversight by Congress.
According to an article in Education Week the legislation, currently in committee, has garnered the support of 32 members of Congress, though it is facing opposition from some who question the role of the federal government in what they maintain is a local education matter.
While bullying impacts students from all sectors of the school population, it is a particular concern for students with disabilities who are often the victims. As noted in our article, Bullying: Kids with LD Are Easy Targets:
School bullying is a widespread problem throughout the United States. Research shows that at least 20% of children in U.S. schools experience frequent bullying. And while specific data is hard to come by, it is widely acknowledged that children with special needs make up a significant proportion of that group because of their unique vulnerabilities and challenges. Read more