WASHINGTON — District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray signed a bill on Friday that will require city agencies that work directly with young people to implement an anti-bullying policy.
“I am absolutely proud to say that today we are taking yet another bold and concrete step towards eradicating bullying in our city,” he said during a ceremony at the Wilson Building.
“There is much more work to do, but I can’t think of a more noble or impactful goal than to end bullying of our youth and continue to create environments where our young people learn and thrive in health and safety.”
The Youth Bullying Prevention Act of 2012 establishes an anti-bullying task force that will include representatives from D.C. Public Schools, the Department of Parks & Recreation, the Metropolitan Police Department, the Mayor’s Office on GLBT Affairs, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League and other government agencies and community organizations.
They will be charged with developing a comprehensive model policy that supporters of the law hope will provide the foundation upon which D.C. government agencies can create their own anti-bullying strategies.
The new law will also protect those who report incidents of bullying from retaliation.
“This is a very, very important piece of legislation,” said D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson.
“Bullying has significant impacts on our young people and it is a barrier to students’ success. We can’t insure that our young people are prepared and they have a world class education that ensures that they’re ready for college or a career if they don’t feel safe, if they don’t feel confident, if they don’t feel able to be themselves because other people are bullying them,” she said.