WASHINGTON — Rep. Tom Reed announced on Tuesday the introduction of bipartisan legislation called Danny’s Law to address bullying in schools with Representatives Max Rose (D-N.Y.), Peter King (R-N.Y.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Haley Stevens (D-Mich.).
“It is important to ensure our kids grow up free from the secret burdens of bullying. Keeping them safe from harassment, bullying and other forms of intimidation is a top priority in our district and across the country,” Reed said. “We are proud to work together to end this age-old problem that has spread to so many new forms with the growth of technology in our day to day lives.”
In August 2016, 13-year-old Daniel Fitzpatrick took his own life as a direct result of bullying at school. His family became outspoken anti-bullying advocates and established the foundation Danny’s Angel Network Nurturing Youth (D.A.N.N.Y.) Inc., which seeks to raise awareness and end bullying in schools.
Danny’s Law, H.R. 3659, would direct the President to establish an “Anti-Bullying Roundtable,” a commission tasked with studying bullying in elementary and secondary schools in the United States. The Roundtable will be established to consult with State and local educational agencies regarding policies on bullying, stakeholder education, and instances of student violence and self-harm as a result of bullying. In the previous Congress, similar legislation was introduced by former-Congressman Dan Donovan.
The Roundtable will produce both a best practices report and a final report:
The best practices report would identify and recommend best practices concerning bullying in elementary and secondary schools in the United States. This report is to be submitted to Congress no later than 270 days after the Roundtable is formed.
The final report would detail the findings and conclusions of the Roundtable and recommend legislative and/or administrative actions to be taken. This report is to be submitted to Congress no later than one year after the Roundtable is formed.
The Roundtable is to be composed of 13 members, including one chairperson, appointed by the President for the duration of the Roundtable. The members, who would serve without pay, are to be stakeholders, such as teachers, parents of school children, and guidance counselors.
“We lost Danny as a result of bullying, which tragically, is a story we hear far too often in our community and across the country,” Congressman Rose said. “I’m in awe of the strength and courage of his family to turn this tragedy into a movement that is saving lives in Danny’s honor. One out of every five kids are bullied and almost half of the students in our own borough report that students harass, bully, or intimidate other students in their own schools. That’s why I’m proud to announce that this week I introduced Danny’s Law because this isn’t about politics or partisanship, it’s about being there for our kids — and I urge Congress to swiftly pass this.”
“I look forward to changing lives and saving lives with Danny’s Law,” Fitzpatrick said. “I believe this is the start of improvement, and I have full confidence that we’ll get this passed, but like anything else, it will take hard work. Bullying is learned and taught behavior, and it is my hope that this will help lead us towards establishing an emotional literacy program that teaches positive behavior and help be a deterrent to bullying. I thank Congressman Rose and all those who are helping support this effort.”
“The impact of bullying is too severe to ignore,” Congressman King said. “We should do all that we can to ensure that parents and teachers have all the necessary tools to face this difficult situation.”