The D.C. Council has proposed two laws this week, the “Bullying and Prevention Act of 2010 and the Harassment and Intimidation Protection Act of 2010, which aim to provide a new, comprehensive policy for prohibiting bullying in D.C. public schools, charter schools, libraries and the University of the District of Columbia.

The Bullying and Prevention Act, which was created by Councilman Michael Brown (I-At-Large) and Mayor-elect Vincent Gray, would define bullying, help establish anti-bullying policies and protect schools that report bullies.

The Harassment and Intimidation Act, proposed by Councilman Harry Thomas (D-Ward 5), would establish similar measures but would extend the reach of the policy beyond public and charter schools.

Brown’s legislative director, Kilin Boardman-Schroyer, said that the committee is currently dedicating most of its energy to the city’s budget. It plans to pass the legislation this or next year.

He hopes that the committee will be able to synthesize the two bills.

The District of Columbia’s Committee of the Whole, which is in charge of all public education, held a hearing Monday to discuss the new anti-bullying legislation. About 20 public witnesses and representatives from the LGBTQ community, including the D.C. Trans Coalition, were present at the meeting. The DCTC, which is dedicated to upholding the rights and well-being of the transgender and transsexual community in D.C., has played a major role in supporting the legislation.

Currently, 45 states have anti-bullying laws, but the District’s would be further reaching than most, especially because of its focus on gender identity-related bullying.

In its testimony, DCTC cited gender identity-related bullying as a key reason preventative legislation should be passed. Citing a study by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network the testimony stated that nearly two-thirds of transgender students felt unsafe in school, 48 percent reported being physically assaulted and 76 percent reported being sexually harassed. As a result, transgender students are more inclined to skip class, have lower grade point averages and are less interested in attending college.

“There needs to be a better solution,” Boardman-Schroyer concluded, “It can’t just be that [bullying] comes with the territory of being a kid.”

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