For Immediate Release:
September 18, 2018
Matthew Nocella, 202.286.1987 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Grosso introduces three bills to improve school safety
Washington, D.C. – Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) introduced three bills to create safer school environments for all students in the District of Columbia.
“Our students learn best when they are in a safe and welcoming environment,” said Grosso. “Addressing the very real concerns of sexual abuse and threats of physical violence are vital to protecting our students’ well-being.”
Grosso introduced the School Safety Act of 2018 today at the Council’s first legislative meeting following its summer recess. The bill requires both traditional public and charter schools to develop policies to prevent and properly respond to child sexual abuse when it occurs. It also mandates training for staff, students, and parents on child sexual abuse, in-line with legislation passed in many other jurisdictions.
“Over the past year we have seen incidences of sexual abuse and assault in our schools,” said Grosso, chairperson of the Council’s Committee on Education. “It was upsetting enough to learn of these incidents, but in too many cases we also learned that the school’s response was inadequate. My legislation seeks to fix that.”
Additionally, schools will need to take additional steps to ensure educators have not previously been fired or lost their teaching license in another jurisdiction for sexual misconduct, including cross-checking potential hires against the national database of teachers’ licenses.
Under another bill Grosso filed on Tuesday, the Student Safety and Consent Education Act of 2018, schools will be required to have policies in place to prevent and properly respond to sexual harassment and assault among students, including dating violence.
“I was disturbed by reports last year that high schools were mishandling sexual assaults, in some cases punishing the victims of sexual assault,” Grosso said. “They need to have more appropriate policies on the books that support these victims and address the behaviors of the perpetrators.”
Further under the bill, schools will need to provide age-appropriate instruction to students on consent, personal boundaries, and healthy relationships.
Finally, Grosso filed legislation, the Safe2Tell Act, creating an anonymous tip line for reporting student plans to do harm to themselves or others based on successful programs in other states including Colorado and Pennsylvania.
“At a time when the federal Department of Education is promoting more guns in schools as a response to violence, I am excited to continue the conversation in D.C. about how to truly make our schools safer.”