The heartbreaking stories of Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover and Jaheem Herrera serve as reminders that we all must take a firm stand against bullying, including the key issue of anti-LGBT behavior. Please take a few minutes to add your name to our petition today demanding that Congress take swift and decisive action to stop student bullying.
Dear Members of the 111th Congress,
Last month the Safe Schools Improvement Act (H.R. 2262) was introduced and referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor. It is our hope that you will do the right thing and support this essential piece of legislation that will help make schools safer for all students regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.
H.R. 2262 would require schools that receive Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act funding to implement comprehensive anti-bullying policies that enumerate categories often targeted by bullies, including race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression and others.
Up until this point we have failed our students and young people by allowing anti-LGBT bullying to go unfettered and unchecked. The most recent result of our negligence to respond collectively and proactively to this endemic problem has been the loss of two young lives this past April. Within just two weeks this spring, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover of Springfield, MA, and Jaheem Herrera of DeKalb, GA, returned from school with broken spirits and hanged themselves following relentless bullying and anti-gay taunts. These were just the reported casesthousands more suffer silently.
We commend Representatives Linda Sánchez (CA-39), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18) and Carolyn McCarthy (NY-4) for introducing this vital bill and those who valiantly cosponsor and support this legislation. We urge all members of Congress to support this long overdue legislationand to reach out to other members of Congress.
When young lives are lost as a result of a problem we have the power to correct, we all bear part of the responsibility. Passing the Safe Schools Improvement Act (H.R. 2262) is a step in the right direction towards righting this tremendous wrong we have committed against our youth through not taking decisive action sooner.
We hope you will think of Carl, Jaheem and the countless other students who are victims of bullying when considering this critical bill. Please, support and vote for the passage of the Safe Schools Improvement Act (H.R. 2262).
Eliza Byard, PhD
Executive Director, GLSEN