The Anti-Bullying Caucus, a bipartisan caucus founded by Democratic Congressman Mike Honda and devoted to stopping bullying, will offically launch tomorrow. Honda and about three dozen other representatives are behind the new caucus, whose mission statement says that it is “committed to the belief that all communities deserve a safe environment to thrive, and that our nation is in urgent need of solutions that stop bullying.”
Honda released a message describing the importance of preventing bullying, saying:
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. Addressing the bullying epidemic – in our schools, in the workplace, in assisted-living facilities – is a concern very close to my heart. It is our responsibility as human beings to empower the individuals who are discriminated against, scapegoated, and silenced by society.
America is threatened by an epidemic where more than thirteen million children are teased, taunted, and physically assaulted by their peers each year—embodied in racism, xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, or simply means of letting go of aggression and bottled emotions. This bullying is not confined to classroom walls; the fear and hurt that so many people feel in America today is an urgent call to action. As an educator of more than thirty years and a member of Congress who was bullied as a child, I am inspired to do my part. That’s why I founded the Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus.
The bullying epidemic has reached national headlines in recent year, and growing support has been mounted for those targeted by bullies. The Obama administration, for its part, has endorsed two national anti-bullying bills, the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) and the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA). SNDA adds sexual orientation and gender identity to federal education nondiscrimination law and prevents the bullying of LGBT youth. Likewise, the SSIA increases schools’ bullying and harassment prevention programs, including those focusing on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Honda’s own experience with bullying is only one of the many personal stories recounted in the caucus’ press release. The report features several personal stories from victims of bullying, and the caucus will be posting another story — meant to be a “call to action” — each day.