PA Youth Attend Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus Launch in Washington, DC

WASHINGTON, DC Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition (PSEC) youth leaders were in attendance of the historic launch of the Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus Thursday afternoon, a monumental step forward for the national agenda to raise anti-bullying awareness.

The launch, which consisted of a 50-minute press conference with congressional members of the caucus as well as a two-hour panel discussion, was led by Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), who remarked on the responsibilities of legislators to lead the charge on addressing the bullying epidemic.

“We think that the issue of bullying is not just one that exists in schools and on school buses; it exists everywhere, a disproportionate mob power that says that one can control another. It is our responsibility to empower,” Honda said.

The new caucus currently consists of 41 representatives, and has been touted as a largely bi-partisan effort.

“We need to let [bullies] know that bullying – in any way, shape, or form, is wrong,” Rep. Robert Dold (R-Ill.) said. “Let’s stop this disturbing trend in our schools.”

The conference and panel discussions, which were comprised of members from activist organizations like the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) as well as third party organizations like Facebook, were further bolstered by the presence of “Bully” director Lee Hirsch and two parents from the film, whose son was documented as committing suicide in the documentary film.

“Now is the time; we have this opportunity, and if we don’t take it, how many more parents are going to lose their children?” Tina Long said. “We’re tired of excuses.”

PSEC is encouraged by the creation of this progressive and devoted meeting of minds as Congress moves along with the Safe Schools Improvement Act, a crucial piece of legislation bound to be further strengthened by the existence of a caucus filled with impassioned legislators eager to tackle the continued challenges of bullying across the country.

At this time, no member from the Pennsylvania delegation has joined the caucus. Three PSEC youth leaders (from Franklin, Berks, and Montgomery counties) were present for the day and visited most of the US Representatives from Pennsylvania offices about the caucus and federal safe schools legislation. PSEC looks forward to working with this group in the future, and offers its full support.

The Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition (PSEC) is the statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth organization working toward safe schools and communities for all.


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