We Need to Do More Than Wear Purple to Help Gay and Straight Bullied Teenscarolyncastiglia
Today is being called Spirit Day by Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan, who started a movement on Facebook to get people to wear purple in honor of the many gay teens who have been bullied to death in the past several months.
While I’m all for showing pride and support, it’s important to remember that wearing purple alone isn’t going to affect the social change everyone involved in Spirit Day hopes to see. However, there are two important bills that have recently been introduced in both the House and the Senate that, if passed, will institute anti-bullying legislation on a federal level, protecting gay and straight children in every state across the country from cruel and fatal abuse.
PrideSource reports that “The Safe Schools Improvement Act, aimed at helping to stop bullying nationwide, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in May 2009. Since then, the bill has grown from 34 co-sponsors to 101.” According to govtrack.us, this bill seems to have lost momentum, as it was referred to the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education in the summer of 2009 and hasn’t been acted on since.
The good news is, in August, both Sen. Robert Casey [D-PA] and Rep. Danny Davis [D-IL7] introduced bills “to amend the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act to include bullying and harassment prevention programs.” If you support this measure, write to your Senators and Representatives and let them know they should co-sponsor these bills. If you’re not sure who your Congresspeople are, use this handy map to find out.
Wear purple today, and enjoy visibly supporting such an important cause. But remember, a purple shirt alone won’t save lives. Legislation, on the other hand, can.
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Ty Smalley: Another Young Soul Lost to Bullying