Hillary Clinton announced a major new plan to help children, families and educators confront the challenge of bullying and heal divisions in communities around the country. The initiative, Better Than Bullying, would provide $500 million in new funding to states that develop comprehensive anti-bullying plans, empowering communities to improve school climates and support our kids. Clinton believes that no child should face bullying or harassment, and she believes we all have a responsibility to our kids to find solutions to these challenges, to prioritize them and to implement them.
Hillary Clinton addressed the new plan during a rally today in North Carolina, saying:
“We all know that bullying is a real problem in our classrooms our playgrounds and online – and teachers have reported that this election has made it worse. I want you to know, we’re going to launch a major new effort to help states and communities and schools and families end bullying wherever it takes place... I can’t think of anything more important than making sure every single one of our children knows that they are loved just as they are. So ultimately, my friends, as Michelle reminds us, this election is about our kids – and in my case, my grandkids. Their lives and their futures, nothing is more important to me than that. I’ve been fighting for kids throughout my career. I will fight for them every single day of my Presidency.”
More About Better Than Bullying:
The federal government will provide flexible grants to states to tailor anti-bullying plans to their local communities, in keeping with the following national priorities:
- Developing comprehensive anti-bullying laws and policies that explicitly prohibit bullying on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion.
- Making the Internet a safer space for kids by addressing cyberbullying.
- Supporting educators working to improve school climate.
- Providing support for students impacted by bullying and abuse.
- Expanding behavioral health programming — teaching young people to control their impulses, recognize the feelings of others, and manage stress and anxiety.
Read the Better Than Bullying Fact Sheet here.
Hillary for America also released a new television ad, “Bryce,” that tells the story of a young man with muscular dystrophy who has overcome bullying. Throughout the campaign, Clinton has talked about the need for more love and kindness in our culture, and she’s recognized that bullying is an urgent crisis that contributes to poor academic performance, increased incidence of depression, and in some extreme cases, suicide.
Hillary for America hosted a press call this morning to discuss the new policy and the dangerous effect of bullying that leaders are seeing through the country. Following the call, supportive statements rolled in from leaders in the education policy and civil rights communities:
Ann McQuade, a New Hampshire educator who teaches english to refugee and immigrant students from more than 30 countries: “We’re seeing a terrible trickle-down effect from the Trump effect into our public schools. And since Donald Trump officially became the republican nominee for president, many of my refugee and immigrant students have come to me to ask questions that revolve around, ‘What if?’ These honest conversations have been sobering and sad… These beautiful, hopeful kids, they come to this country to find a better life and we say to them: ‘Welcome to America,’ and then they watch television and are exposed to angry social media that sends a different message.”
Tony Coelho, former Congressman and architect of the Americans with Disabilities Act: “One of the things we are most concerned about in the disability community is getting rid of the stigma that has existed for years and years. We were making tremendous progress when it comes to that. My really strong belief is that Donald Trump has brought hate back… When you have a candidate who is a nominee for president of one of our legitimate parties who is openly mocking, openly stigmatizing those of us with disabilities, that is a huge setback. We, in our community, really appreciate what Hillary is trying to do to take it the other way and get back to the progress that we were making… She has been with us all these years, and now she is coming in on a major issue and defending us again.”
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers: “This election cycle—with candidates like Donald Trump using the currency of hate, fear and marginalization—has made combating bullying a more urgent issue. Trump is a bully’s bully, and the consequences of his actions will last far beyond. Hillary Clinton gets this, and her ‘Better than Bullying’ plan demonstrates her understanding of the need for comprehensive and long-term solutions. ‘Better than Bullying’ will give states the incentive to develop comprehensive anti-bullying plans, and it will provide parents, educators, school staff and communities with the resources and skills they need to prevent bullying and to support those who experience bullying… We appreciate that Hillary Clinton understands the importance of tackling bullying, and we look forward to partnering with the next president of the United States on an even more comprehensive approach to addressing bullying and other school climate issues.”
Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association: “Like our educators, Hillary Clinton understands that kindness, collaboration and cooperation are important in school and in life. The rise in vitriolic speech in classrooms and the anxiety created by Donald Trump illustrate that students need this support now more than ever. Educators are proud to have a partner in policies that help our children and look forward to working with Secretary Clinton to implement these proposals as president.”
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign: “As Donald Trump’s rhetoric continues to foment violence and encourage division among Americans of all ages, Hillary Clinton is bringing real solutions to fight the bullying and abuse that so many LGBTQ youth face on a daily basis. We know from our own research and work in schools that growing up LGBTQ in America today is not easy. Hillary Clinton's comprehensive anti-bullying plan is a crucial and welcome step toward improving the lives of our youngest, most vulnerable Americans.”
Deb Delisle, executive director and CEO of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development: “Secretary Clinton’s proposal to take on bullying in schools couldn’t have come at a better time. Educators have long known that in order for kids to succeed, we must focus on the whole child, which starts with a safe and supportive learning environment. Our kids are counting on adults and especially our elected officials to make this a priority and to lead by example. Bullying has no place at school, in the workplace, or in politics.”
Pamela Cantor, M.D., president and CEO of Turnaround for Children: “Children will struggle to learn if they feel fear in their classrooms, lunch rooms and hallways. Bullying is a source of trauma and trauma sets off a stress response that impacts the learning centers of the developing brain, interfering with attention, working memory and organization. All children need to attend schools where they feel physically and emotionally safe in order to engage in learning. It is critically important to have national leadership on this issue so that many more children can succeed in school.”
Alice Johnson Cain, executive vice president of policy and partnerships for Teach Plus: "Children watch and learn from the adults in their lives every day. When the bar for what is acceptable behavior in political discourse is lowered -- as Donald Trump has lowered it throughout the campaign -- there is a ripple effect that has reached into our schools and classrooms. I applaud Secretary Clinton for, once again, stepping up to help kids. These smart and concrete steps, taken in partnership with educators, will make a tremendous difference in addressing this growing problem."
Joan Lombardi, PhD, international expert on child development and social policy:"Stopping bullying before it starts is not only the right thing to do, but a smart thing to do to promote important social skills among children."
Kelsey Louie, CEO of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis: “The hateful rhetoric about the LGBT community heard on the campaign trail has been both horrifying and inexcusable. There can be no question that LGBT kids face a much higher risk of bullying, harassment and other forms of violence. And it is not just the LGBT community that has been targeted. Silence in the face of hatred, racism and homophobia is dangerous since it only foments bullying, harassment and violence. We at GMHC support this and all efforts to end the silence and combat bullying in order to advance our nation's promise of equality for all."
Michael Yudin, former Assistant Secretary of Special Education: “We must do everything we can to make sure all of our children have the opportunity to grow up free of fear, violence, and bullying. Bullying of children in our schools or on the internet cannot be tolerated, and Secretary Clinton’s comprehensive anti-bullying plan will empower States and local communities to make sure all of our children have the opportunity to learn and thrive.”
National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools: “We're glad @HillaryClinton’s anti-bullying plan aligns w/our guidelines for positive learning environments for all! http://bit.ly/2dM8ZEF”
Erica L Smegielski, Gun Violence Prevention Advocate: “.@HillaryClinton takes cyberbullying seriously! Having lived with these attacks for years, I thank you for standing up to this serious issue”
Morgan Polikoff, associate professor of K-12 policy, USC Rossier School of Education: “I think there are some really excellent ideas in Hillary's new anti-bullying plan.”