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Kaine Cosponsors Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Help Prevent Bullying in Schools

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) co-sponsored the Safe Schools Improvement Act of 2021, which would require school districts to adopt codes of conduct to prohibit bullying and harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and religion. This legislation was originally introduced by U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and companion legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House by Representatives Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA), John Katko (R-NY) and Mark Takano (D-CA).

“Every child deserves to learn in a safe and welcoming environment, regardless of their race, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, or religion,” said Senator Kaine. “I’m proud to help introduce this legislation to help protect students from harm, and make clear that bullying and harassment have no place in our schools.” 

“Children deserve to go to school without fear or intimidation. Bullying and harassment affects far too many children with serious negative impacts on their mental and physical health, emotional well-being and academic achievement,” said Senator Casey. “With text messaging, social media and ever increasing virtual interactions, many children find they cannot escape the harassment when they go home at night. It follows them from the moment they wake until the moment they go to sleep. This commonsense legislation will ensure that schools districts across the country take proactive steps to combat bullying and protect children.” 

Specifically, the Safe Schools Improvement Act would: 

  • Require schools and districts receiving federal funding to specifically prohibit bullying and harassment.
  • Ensure that schools and school districts focus on effective prevention programs in order to better prevent and respond to incidents of bullying and harassment both in school and online.
  • Require that states report data on incidents of bullying and harassment to the Department of Education.  

The Safe Schools Improvement Act is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Gary Peters (D-MI).

Read a summary of the Safe Schools Improvement Act here.