What is this bill about?
School bullying and harassment are major problems affecting students every day in this country. The Safe Schools Improvement Act is a bill that aims to strengthen measures to prevent the bullying and harassment of students in public elementary and secondary schools. Some of the ways in which the bill will accomplish this is by:
- Requiring states to collect information regarding bullying incidences that occur throughout its public schools and report this data to the Department of Education and make the data available to the public.
- Requiring local educational agencies to clearly prohibit bullying and harassment in their discipline policies.
- Requiring grievance procedures for students, parents and educators to redress incidents of bullying and harassment.
- Prohibiting bullying and harassment that occurs through electronic means, including through the use of computers or cell phones.
Why is this bill important to the Sikh American Community?
This Act is important to you and other Sikh Americans because Sikh students are, unfortunately, all too familiar with incidences of bullying and harassment. No student should have to fear going to school. Students forced to endure bullying and harassment at school are at high risk for, poor academic performance, low self-esteem, social withdrawal, and losing their Sikh identity.
Although individual states and schools may already have procedures for collecting and reporting acts of bullying, this federal law will only add to the protective measures in place for our students. The language it contains may be stronger and broader than the language of your state or local school district. Additionally, this bill provides incentives for states to comply with the law. When a state does not comply with federal legislation it risks losing federal funding.