Today, Washington, D.C. took a momentous stand against bullying. On Friday June 22nd, Mayor Vincent C. Gray signed into law the Youth Bullying Prevention Act of 2012, and we were on the scene to commemorate this wonderful occasion.
The Youth Bullying Prevention Act is the first bill of its kind to protect individuals in all agencies that serve youth across the city. Foster youth services, schools, detention centers, libraries, and more are now required to have clear policies that prevent and combat bullying. LGBT youth and the children of LGBT parents are specifically included in this legislation, making it one of the most inclusive bills signed to date anywhere in the country. (Click here to read the bill.)
We were thrilled to see a bill that we co-led in drafting alongside GLSEN, Bully Free DC, and others be signed into law. This is a win, not just for LGBT youth and children of LGBT parents, but for all children who are victims of bullying. Mayor Gray is fighting to change the culture of bullying that still exists in school systems and agencies: “I can’t think of a more noble or impactful goal than to end the bullying of our youth and continue to create environments where our young people learn and thrive in health and safety.”
Representatives from the Anti-Bullying Task Force, a team established through this bill that will combat bullying in the city, who were in attendance at the ceremony include Councilmembers Michael Brown (I-At Large) and Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin and several District youth.
Children are our future: if we raise them in environments where they witness and experience bullying, they will continue to accept and proliferate the actions of adults. Bullying is a harmful practice that, unfortunately, persists in almost all public and private spaces, but with the passing of the Youth Bullying Prevention Act, Washington D.C. has proudly passed one of the most comprehensive bills to create a culture shift on this issue. We hope to see more legislation like this in other cities and states across the country!
We would like to thank the Mayor and all others who helped to create and pass this bill. To the new Task Force, good luck on your mission and remember: the youth of D.C. will grow up in a safer and happier city because of your work.