Local and federal officials come together to stop bullying in schools

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- “It’s an issue that shouldn’t be unsolvable," Suzanne Greenfield said.

Greenfield has been involved in the issue of bullying for the past four years. As Director of the Citywide Bullying Prevention Program in Washington D.C. she works to find ways to end the epidemic but it’s a difficult issue to tackle.

“It’s a lot of different pieces that come together under sort of the role of how do we build empathy amongst our youth, how to we ensure every kid has a trusted adult they can go to if something is wrong," she added.

Greenfield said bullying has always been around but now they have the stats to prove just how often it’s happening. In D.C. she said 30 percent of kids reported being targeted or bullied. It's an issue all across the country and getting the attention of lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

“It’s meant to deal with a horrific betrayal really," Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) said.

Casey said families’ trust that their kids will be safe when they’re sent to school. But the reality is 1 in 5 students’ are bullied once they get there. That’s why he is introducing the Safe Schools Improvement Act. It will require schools and districts receiving federal funding to prohibit bullying and report any instances of harassment.

“If a school or school district isn’t doing something about it then they’re part of the problem," Casey added.

Greenfield said the support from Congress is encouraging.

“We’re starting to get a bigger perspective on this. School climate is the key to preventing bullying from happening. It’s super important for our kids that we know what to do when it does happen to address it and address it consistently," Greenfield said.

Greenfield and Casey plan to continue to address the issue on both the local and federal level knowing it will take all areas of government to end bullying for good.

Read the original version of this article at www.graydc.com.

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