|Subject: Action Alerts: Congressman Jay Inslee's Statement on Bullying; Information re Student Non Discrimination Act (S. 555); Keep the WA State Office of the Education Ombudsman in the budget with their current allocation|
|From: Gabi Clayton ~ Safe Schools Coalition <email@example.com>|
|Date: 12/6/2011 9:37 PM|
Note: We are sharing these items because we believe that they are issues Safe Schools Coalition members and friends may be interested in.****************************************
If you have opinion about them, please let your voice be heard.
Patrick Hogan, Special Assistant to Congressman Jay Inslee sent us the following statement on bullying and asked us to share it with Safe Schools Coalition's listserv subscribers:--
Like you, I am concerned about the detrimental effects of bullying and harassment on our children. All students, in all schools, deserve to receive a quality education, and bullying obstructs a child’s ability to learn. A study from the National Center for Education Statistics reported 32 percent of students saying they had been bullied on or near school grounds. Nearly 1 in 4 students between the ages of 10 and 14 attribute academic difficulties to troubles from bullying.
To address this problem, I am supporting H.R. 1648, the Safe Schools Improvement Act, which amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to require states, on an ongoing basis, to collect and report information on bullying and harassment by youth in their elementary and secondary schools and communities. Additionally, the bill would instruct local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools to include clear prohibitions against bullying and harassment within their discipline policies, as well as notify parents, students and educators annually on the bullying and harassment prohibited by their disciplinary policies.
I am also supporting H.R. 998, the Student Non-Discrimination Act of 2011, which prohibits public school students from being excluded from participating in, or subject to discrimination under, any federally-assisted educational program on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity or that of their associates; considers harassment to be a form of discrimination; and prohibits retaliation against anyone for opposing conduct they reasonably believe to be unlawful under this Act.
Finally, the following statement has been entered into the Congressional Record announcing my support for this legislation. I look forward to working with the LGBT community and allies to pass these bills.
HON. JAY INSLEE
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Friday, November 18, 2011
- Mr. INSLEE. Mr. Speaker, a fundamental principle of our nation's education system is that all schools should provide students with a safe environment that allows them to learn without fear of harassment or discrimination. Unfortunately, we are not doing nearly a good enough job to provide this type of environment for our children, as far too many students go to school every day facing anti-LGBT bullying and discrimination. Allowing this sort of atmosphere to exist anywhere is unconscionable and wrong.
- Over the last fifty years, the federal government has taken action to require that all schools receiving federal funds prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, disability, and age. These laws are now in desperate need of updating, in order to expressly protect students from discrimination and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. This gap has left students and guardians with limited legal recourse in case of discrimination and harassment, and the federal government currently faces a dearth of information on how deep the problem runs. As a result, I am adding my name as a cosponsor to H.R. 998 and H.R. 1648 to help address these issues. While this law would place additional reporting requirements on cash-strapped school districts, I hope the federal government can work with states to share in this burden.
- Studies have shown just how detrimental an impact this type of treatment can have on LGBT youth. Among the many potential consequences of anti-LGBT bullying are increased absenteeism, academic underachievement, and serious health consequences. The need for this legislative change has only been made more acute recently, as we have seen far too many tragic deaths arise from the terrors of bullying in schools. I refuse to stand by and let any more suicides occur among students who were not sufficiently protected from harassment at school.
- While these bills address discriminatory activities occurring on school grounds, we must also encourage parents in every state to provide safe, healthy environments at home. This is particularly important as we continue to see a steep rise in cyber bullying, which can further isolate youth in desperate need of an open and honest environment. I look forward to working with my colleagues to modernize our federal laws to recognize this serious and growing problem as well.
If you have any questions or comments, contact Patrick Hogan at 206-361-0233, email: Patrick.Hogan@mail.house.gov
Student Non Discrimination Act (S. 555)
From: Cathy Liu Scott [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 8:38 PM
Subject: Education Ombudsman
Dear Friends of OEO,
Thank you to all of you who have contacted us to express your concern for the survival of our office during these difficult times. You are wonderful friends and supporters of our office.
Last week, Governor Gregoire presented a Supplemental Budget calling for more than $2 billion in spending cuts which includes a 28% annual budget cut to the Office of the Education Ombudsman (OEO). This devastating cut will reduce our staff numbers significantly and we will not be able to serve state-wide parents, students and schools effectively. As you know our budget has been cut each year since we opened our doors in 2006, and we currently operate with 60% less of our original budget.
To date, OEO has resolved nearly 3,000 complaints and has saved millions of dollars to parents and school districts by preventing costly lawsuits and administrative hearings. We have kept students from dropping out, ensured that students learn in safe environments, and helped children with disabilities get their educational needs met. With our current budget of $547,000 a year, the return for the State’s minuscule investment is huge.
The Governor’s budget proposal is now House Bill 2127 which is currently in front of the House of Representatives and the Senate for hearings and debates. Legislators are taking public input and comments before making final decisions. Please help us keep OEO open and operating with our same current (small) budget.
IMMEDIATE ACTION - Please contact your legislators here and the following: Chairs of the Senate and House Ways and Means Committees now:Chairs of the Senate Ways and Means Committee:The subject of your e-mail is: HB 2127. Urge them to: “keep the Office of the Education Ombudsman in the budget with their current allocation of $547,000 a year.” If you have a short personal story about OEO, please also let them know.
Senator Ed Murray – Ed.Murray@wa.leg.gov – 360-786-7628
Senator Derek Kilmer – Derek.Kilmer@wa.leg.gov – 360-786-7628
Chairs of the House Ways and Means Committee:
Representative Ross Hunter – Ross.Hunter@leg.wa.gov – 360-786-7936
Representative Jeannie Darneille – Jeannie.Darneille@leg.wa.gov 360-786-7964
Representative Bob Hasegawa – Bob.Hasegawa@leg.wa.gov - 360-786-7990
Here is our latest Annual Report for more information: www.waparentslearn.org . If you have any questions please contact OEO at 206-729-3233. Thank you!
Cathy Liu Scott