< Back to H.R. 1648 (112th Congress, 2011–2013)

Text of the Safe Schools Improvement Act of 2011

This bill was introduced on April 15, 2011, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Apr 15, 2011 (Introduced).

Download PDF

Source: GPO

I

112th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 1648

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

April 15, 2011

(for herself, Mr. Ackerman, Mr. Baca, Ms. Baldwin, Ms. Berkley, Mr. Berman, Mr. Blumenauer, Ms. Bordallo, Mr. Capuano, Mr. Carnahan, Mr. Carson of Indiana, Mr. Cicilline, Ms. Clarke of New York, Mr. Connolly of Virginia, Mr. Costello, Mr. Courtney, Mr. Crowley, Ms. DeLauro, Mr. Deutch, Mr. Ellison, Mr. Engel, Ms. Eshoo, Mr. Filner, Mr. Al Green of Texas, Mr. Grijalva, Ms. Hanabusa, Mr. Hanna, Mr. Hastings of Florida, Ms. Hirono, Ms. Norton, Mr. Holt, Mr. Honda, Mr. Israel, Mr. Jackson of Illinois, Ms. Jackson Lee of Texas, Mr. Kildee, Mr. Kucinich, Ms. Lee of California, Mrs. Maloney, Ms. Matsui, Mrs. McCarthy of New York, Ms. McCollum, Mr. McGovern, Mr. Meeks, Ms. Moore, Mr. Moran, Mr. Nadler, Mrs. Napolitano, Mr. Neal, Mr. Olver, Mr. Pascrell, Mr. Payne, Ms. Pingree of Maine, Mr. Platts, Mr. Polis, Mr. Price of North Carolina, Ms. Richardson, Mr. Rothman of New Jersey, Ms. Roybal-Allard, Mr. Sablan, Ms. Loretta Sanchez of California, Mr. Sherman, Ms. Slaughter, Mr. Stark, Ms. Sutton, Mr. Tonko, Mr. Towns, Mr. Van Hollen, Ms. Wasserman Schultz, Mr. Yarmuth, and Mr. Young of Alaska) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce

A BILL

To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to address and take action to prevent bullying and harassment of students.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Safe Schools Improvement Act of 2011.

2.

Findings

Congress finds the following:

(1)

Bullying fosters a climate of fear and disrespect that can seriously impair the physical and psychological health of its victims and create conditions that negatively affect learning, thereby undermining the ability of students to achieve their full potential.

(2)

Bullying and harassment contribute to high dropout rates, increased absenteeism, and academic underachievement.

(3)

Bullying and harassment includes a range of behaviors that negatively impact a student’s ability to learn and participate in educational opportunities and activities that schools offer. Such behaviors can include hitting or punching, teasing or name-calling, intimidation through gestures or social exclusion, and sending insulting or offensive messages through electronic communications such as Internet sites, e-mail, instant messaging, mobile phones and messaging, telephone, or any other means.

(4)

Schools with enumerated anti-bullying and harassment policies have an increased level of reporting and teacher intervention in incidents of bullying and harassment, thereby reducing the overall frequency and number of such incidents.

(5)

Students have been particularly singled out for bullying and harassment on the basis of their actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability status, sexual orientation or gender identity, among other categories.

(6)

Some young people experience a form of bullying called relational aggression or psychological bullying, which harms individuals by damaging, threatening, or manipulating their relationships with their peers, or by injuring their feelings of social acceptance.

(7)

Interventions to address bullying and harassment and create a positive and safe school climate, combined with evidence-based discipline policies and practices, such as Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and restorative practices, can minimize suspensions, expulsions, and other exclusionary discipline policies to ensure that students are not pushed-out or diverted to the juvenile justice system.

(8)

According to a recent poll, 85 percent of Americans strongly support or somewhat support a Federal law to require schools to enforce specific rules to prevent bullying.

(9)

Students, parents, educators, and policymakers have come together to call for leadership and action to address the national crisis of bullying and harassment.

3.

Safe Schools Improvement

(a)

In general

Title IV of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7101 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

D

Safe Schools Improvement

4401.

Purpose

The purpose of this part is to address the problem of bullying and harassment of students in public elementary schools and secondary schools.

4402.

State requirements

(a)

State reporting, needs assessment, and technical assistance

Each State that receives funds under this Act shall carry out the following:

(1)

Collection and report of information

(A)

In general

The State shall collect and report information on the incidence, prevalence, age of onset, perception of health risk, and perception of social disapproval of bullying and harassment by youth in elementary schools and secondary schools and communities in the State.

(B)

Source of information

In collecting information described in subparagraph (A), the State shall include information collected from incident reports by school officials, anonymous student surveys, and anonymous teacher, administrator, specialized instructional support personnel, and other school personnel surveys reported to the State on a school-by-school basis but shall not identify victims of bullying or harassment or persons accused of bullying or harassment.

(C)

Report

The chief executive officer of the State, in cooperation with the State educational agency, shall—

(i)

submit a biennial report on the information described in this paragraph to the Secretary; and

(ii)

make such information readily available to the public.

(2)

Needs assessment

The State shall conduct, and publicly report the results of, a needs assessment for bullying and harassment prevention programs, which shall be based on ongoing State evaluation activities, including data on—

(A)

the incidence and prevalence of reported incidents of bullying and harassment; and

(B)

the perception of students, parents, and communities regarding their school environment, including with respect to the prevalence and seriousness of incidents of bullying and harassment and the responsiveness of the school to those incidents.

(3)

Technical assistance

The State shall provide technical assistance to local educational agencies and schools in their efforts to prevent and appropriately respond to incidents of bullying and harassment.

(b)

Available funding for States

To implement the requirements described in subsection (a), the State may use—

(1)

administrative funds consolidated under section 9201; or

(2)

other funds available to the State under this Act, to the extent consistent with the authorized uses of such funds.

4403.

Local educational agency requirements

(a)

Local educational agency discipline policies, performance indicators, and grievance procedures

Each local educational agency that receives funds under this Act shall—

(1)

include within the agency's comprehensive discipline policies clear prohibitions against bullying and harassment for the protection of all students;

(2)

establish and monitor performance indicators for incidents of bullying and harassment;

(3)

provide annual notice to parents, students, and educational professionals—

(A)

describing the full range of bullying and harassment conduct prohibited by the agency's discipline policies; and

(B)

reporting on the numbers and nature of bullying and harassment incidents for each school served by the local educational agency; and

(4)

establish and provide annual notice to students, parents, and educational professionals of grievance procedures for students, parents, or educational professionals who seek to register complaints regarding bullying and harassment prohibited by the discipline policies, including—

(A)

the name of the local educational agency official who is designated as responsible for receiving such complaints; and

(B)

timelines that the local educational agency will follow in the resolution of such complaints.

(b)

Available funding for local educational agencies

To implement the requirements described in subsection (a), the local educational agency may use—

(1)

administrative funds consolidated under section 9203; or

(2)

other funds available to the local educational agency under this Act, to the extent consistent with the authorized uses of such funds.

4404.

Evaluation

(a)

Biennial evaluation

The Secretary shall conduct an independent biennial evaluation of programs to combat bullying and harassment in elementary schools and secondary schools, including implementation of the requirements described in sections 4402 and 4403, including whether such programs have appreciably reduced the level of bullying and harassment and have conducted effective parent involvement and training programs.

(b)

Data collection

The Commissioner for Education Statistics shall collect data, that are subject to independent review, to determine the incidence and prevalence of bullying and harassment in elementary schools and secondary schools in the United States. The collected data shall include incident reports by school officials, anonymous student surveys, anonymous parent surveys, and anonymous teacher, administrator, specialized instructional support personnel, and other school personnel surveys.

(c)

Biennial report

Not later than January 1, 2012, and every 2 years thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to the President and Congress a report on the findings of the evaluation conducted under subsection (a) together with the data collected under subsection (b) and data submitted by the States under section 4402(a)(1)(C)(i).

4405.

Definitions

In this part:

(1)

Bullying

The term bullying

(A)

means conduct, including an electronic communication, that adversely affects the ability of 1 or more students to participate in or benefit from the school's educational programs or activities by placing the student (or students) in reasonable fear of physical harm; and

(B)

includes conduct that is based on—

(i)

a student's actual or perceived—

(I)

race;

(II)

color;

(III)

national origin;

(IV)

sex;

(V)

disability;

(VI)

sexual orientation;

(VII)

gender identity; or

(VIII)

religion;

(ii)

any other distinguishing characteristics that may be defined by a State or local educational agency; or

(iii)

association with a person or group with 1 or more of the actual or perceived characteristics listed in clause (i) or (ii).

(2)

Electronic communication

The term electronic communication means a communication transmitted by means of an electronic device, such as a telephone, cellular phone, computer, or pager.

(3)

Harassment

The term harassment

(A)

means conduct, including an electronic communication, that adversely affects the ability of 1 or more students to participate in or benefit from the school's educational programs or activities because the conduct, as reasonably perceived by the student (or students), is so severe, persistent, or pervasive; and

(B)

includes conduct that is based on—

(i)

a student's actual or perceived—

(I)

race;

(II)

color;

(III)

national origin;

(IV)

sex;

(V)

disability;

(VI)

sexual orientation;

(VII)

gender identity; or

(VIII)

religion;

(ii)

any other distinguishing characteristic that may be defined by a State or local educational agency; or

(iii)

association with a person or group with 1 or more of the actual or perceived characteristics listed in clause (i) or (ii).

4406.

Effect on other laws

(a)

Federal and State nondiscrimination laws

Nothing in this part shall be construed to invalidate or limit rights, remedies, procedures, or legal standards available to victims of discrimination under any other Federal law or law of a State or political subdivision of a State, including title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.), title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.), section 504 or 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794, 794a), or the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.). The obligations imposed by this part are in addition to those imposed by title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.), title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.), section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.).

(b)

Free speech and expression laws

Nothing in this part shall be construed to alter legal standards regarding, or affect the rights (including remedies and procedures) available to individuals under, other Federal laws that establish protections for freedom of speech or expression.

4407.

Rule of construction

Nothing in this part shall be construed to prohibit a State or local entity from enacting any law with respect to the prevention of bullying or harassment of students that is not inconsistent with this part.

.

(b)

Table of contents

The table of contents in section 2 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 4304 the following:

PART D—Safe Schools Improvement

Sec. 4401. Purpose.

Sec. 4402. State requirements.

Sec. 4403. Local educational agency requirements.

Sec. 4404. Evaluation.

Sec. 4405. Definitions.

Sec. 4406. Effect on other laws.

Sec. 4407. Rule of construction.

.