Palfrey testifies on cyberbullying to House subcommittee

Harvard News Service
Harvard Law School Professor John Palfrey will testify before the House subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security today regarding two pieces of legislation designed to address cyberbullying and other online safety issues for children. A live webcast of the testimony will be available beginning at 3 p.m.
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Cyberbullying bill gets chilly reception from Congress

By David Kravets
Lawmakers gave Rep. Linda Sanchez’s cyberbullying bill a cool reception
Proposed legislation demanding up to two years in prison for electronic speech meant to “coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person” was met with little enthusiasm by a House subcommittee on Wednesday.
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Congress takes new anti-bullying laws seriously

By Lauren Barack
School Library Journal
Students, educators, and a parent whose son committed suicide after a year of bullying recentyl testified before Congress urging the federal government to intervene.

“I think it’s important to have zero tolerance against bullying,” says Cassady Tetsworth, a 12th-grader and vice chair of the National Youth Advisory Board for the nonprofit Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE), testifying before House Subcommittees on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education and Healthy Families and Communities. “A federal law would make it more concrete, and not just something our school system wants us to do.”

Representative Linda Sánchez (D-Lakewood), who is passionate about this issue, agrees. She has sponsored the Safe Kids Agenda, several bills wending their way through Capitol Hill, including the State School Improvement Act — a bill that will require schools to launch anti-harassment programs, and report any bullying. Full story.

Christian Right: Anti-bullying bills, policies are pro-gay ruse

Congress is due to consider an anti-bullying bill for schools. One outspoken Christian activist calls the measure “a ruse” perpetrated by homosexual groups.

The Safe Schools Improvement Act (H.R. 2262), introduced in early May by Representative Linda Sánchez (D-California) and endorsed by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), would require special treatment on the basis of a student’s actual or perceived “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.” According to GLSEN, bullying is a “serious public health crisis” — and passage of H.R. 2262 would lay a “foundation of support” for future, similar policies.

Matt Barber, director of cultural affairs for Liberty Counsel, offers a blunt comment on the Safe Schools Improvement Act. “This is a ruse orchestrated by adult homosexual pressure groups intended as a foot in the door for their radical, anti-moral values agenda,” he states. Full story.

School bullying can be devastating, lawmakers hear

By Carrie Wells
McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON — Sirdeaner Walker was cooking dinner on April 6 when she went upstairs to check on her 11-year-old son, Carl Walker-Hoover, who’d gotten into a fight that day at school and seemed upset.

All year, bullies had been making his life miserable, calling him a “faggot” and threatening to kill him, and when Walker went upstairs, she found Carl with an extension cord wrapped around his neck, hanging from the ceiling.

“What could make a child his age despair so much that he would take his own life?” said Walker, of Springfield, Mass.

On Wednesday, Walker and others came before two congressional education subcommittees to tell them that bullying is a national crisis. School officials, the witnesses said, must halt what they called an atmosphere of complacency that can have devastating effects on children long into adulthood. Full story.

Fed watch: Proposed bill to fund anti-bullying

By: Lisa Baiocchi-Mooney
Children and the Law Blog
A recent proposal to amend the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (HR 1589) would authorize funds to be used for gang prevention and to address the increasingly prevalent issue of bullying. The proposed amendment, by Rep. Linda Sanchez of California, specifically focuses on the negative impact that bullying has on children on school campuses.

This seems especially relevant considering the recent headlines regarding young school children taking their owns lives as a result of bullying.
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