Signs of Life for Anti-Bullying Initiatives in D.C.

City Council prepares to pass long-stalled legislation as Gray proposes action plan to prevent bullying

By John Riley
Published on April 19, 2012, 8:40am | Comments

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The bill – which stalled after the reassignment of former Libraries, Parks and Recreation chairwoman Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) to the Committee on Government Operations, and Wells from the Committee on Environment, Public Works and Transportation to Libraries, Parks and Recreation – comes a little more than a week after Mayor Vincent Gray (D) announced his own plan to combat bullying within the District.

Gray's plan, which will be implemented by the D.C. Office of Human Rights, has several action items, such as the formation of a task force with 14 city agency directors, including Jeffrey Richardson, director of the Mayor's Office of GLBT Affairs, Chancellor Kaya Henderson of DCPS and Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier. The task force, which will also include teachers, parents and local nonprofits such as the Gay, Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the D.C. Alliance of Youth Advocates (DC AYA), will commission a report and create model policy and standards for anti-bullying initiatives.

''GLSEN applauds Mayor Vincent C. Gray for his leadership in putting forth an exceptional plan that focuses on the reduction and prevention of bullying in the District's public school system,'' GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard said in a GLSEN release. ''Mayor Gray's new 'Anti-Bullying Action Plan' is a comprehensive effort that calls for evidence-based interventions to address the specific needs facing the District's schools.''