HRC Blog

Senate Hearing in Iowa Cafeteria Focuses on Bullying of Youth

Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing on bullying outside the halls of the U.S. Capitol complex. Harkin held the hearing in the cafeteria at East High School in Des Moines, Iowa.

At the hearing, Sen. Harkin stated that about one in every five children face bullying at some point in their lives. He acknowledged that gay and transgender youth are at high risk of being bullied and cited information from HRC’s recently released landmark study of LGBT youth.

In conjunction with the hearing, Sen. Harkin released a new report on bullying from the General Accounting Office. The report concludes that legal protections related to bullying of vulnerable groups need to be more fully assessed. It calls on the Departments of Education, Justice and Health and Human Services to assess whether the current legal protections related to bullying are adequate.

Sen. Harkin used the hearing and the GAO report to talk about his Successful Safe and Healthy Students Act of 2011 (S. 919), which would require school districts to enact anti-bullying and harassment policies. HRC supports the Successful Safe and Healthy Students Act of 2011. Additionally, HRC supports and urges the Senate to address this issue by passing the Student Non-Discrimination Act (S. 555) and the Safe Schools Improvement Act (S. 506).

Testifying at the hearing were representatives for the GAO and the Department of Education, as well as education professionals and students from Iowa.

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