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Senator Sherrod Brown on Bullying

posted Mar 14, 2011, 3:50 PM by Michael Chanak
All students deserve a healthy learning environment where they can grow and thrive in safety. However, too many of our young people are held back by a national epidemic of bullying and harassment that affects an estimated 30 percent of students. These bullied students are prone to skip school, underperform, or drop-out in order to cope with the adversity. The consequences are very real, and not limited to academic performance. Studies suggest that more than one-third of LGBT youth have attempted suicide, which is an intolerable statistic. This crisis needs a solution. 

Last September, Senator Sherrod Brown was proud to deliver the first “It Gets Better” address ( the United States Senate floor in which he spoke directly Ohio’s youth, particularly those victimized by bullying and harassment. The message was simple: “You are not alone. Life will get better. You can find the love and acceptance you deserve, free from fear and hate. And you will realize your full potential every bit as much as anyone else.” Senator Brown also shared the story of a young Ohioan named Nicholas who was the victim of a savage incident, in which he was chased by an anti-gay bully and bashed in the head with a hammer three times. Fortunately, Nicholas survived, and wrote to the Senator asking that he speak out to prevent similar brutality in the future. LGBT Youth or those perceived as LGBT are bullied at a rate two-to-three times that of their heterosexual peers. 

Although schools should be proactive in protecting students from bullying and harassment, many need additional resources. Senator Brown is a cosponsor of the Safe Schools Improvement Act (S.506), which would assist schools with the implementation of effective bullying and harassment prevention programs and require states to report data on incidences of bullying and harassment to the U.S. Department of Education. He also supports the Student Non-Discrimination Act (S.555), which would prohibit discrimination in public schools based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Legislation alone will not eradicate prejudice or put an end to bullying, but it would be a major step toward ensuring safety and equal treatment for all students in our school systems. Last week, President Obama held a White House Conference on Bullying Prevention, where he announced a new website called This site now provides information on how relevant community members can work together to prevent or stop bullying. 

Senator Brown is convinced that the federal government has an important role to play in ensuring that any and all barriers to learning are removed from our schools, so that we can keep America strong and Ohioans competitive and innovative in the 21st century. Our students deserve it. Our future depends on it. 

For more on what Sen. Brown is working on for Ohio, please click here -