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Congressman Dan Donovan

Representing the 11th District of New York

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Donovan Unveils Anti-Bullying Legislation Named After Local Boy Who Took His Own Life

October 30, 2017
Press Release
‘Danny’s Law’ commemorates life of Staten Island teen Danny Fitzpatrick, who tragically took his life after facing constant mistreatment; Bill creates an anti-bullying task force to recommend policies for parents, students, and legislators

Staten Island, NY—October 30, 2017….Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11) today unveiled his legislation to help address the rise of bullying in classrooms nationwide. The bill, entitled Danny’s Law, will create an anti-bullying task force comprised of education stakeholders, including teachers, guidance counselors, psychologists, parents, and bullied children, to develop anti-bullying best practices.

The legislation is named after Danny Fitzpatrick, a Staten Island teen who tragically took his own life after facing relentless bullying. The Fitzpatrick family was an integral part of the development and introduction of the bill.

Congressman Donovan said, “We can’t bring Danny back, but we can honor his life by preventing this type of tragedy from happening to another child and family. Danny’s family is incredibly brave to channel their grief into action. There isn’t one perfect solution, but Danny’s Law is a first step to creating a comprehensive strategy to tackle bullying nationwide.”

Maureen Fitzpatrick, Mother of Danny Fitzpatrick and anti-bullying advocate, said, “Danny's Law seeks solutions for our nation's bullying epidemic by creating protocols for educators, parents, and students to dare to care and end the silence. With the policies that come from Danny's Law, we can have positive interventions and a safe environment to help both bullies and victims. A task force of experts taking a look at the problem and offering solutions within and beyond the educational system is the right way forward.”

Michael Reilly, President of Community Education Council for District 31, said, “I commend Congressman Donovan for introducing this important legislation to enhance the ability to identify and prevent bullying. Mrs. Maureen Fitzpatrick's courageous efforts, honoring her son Daniel’s memory, is an inspiration to us all.” 

Appointments to the anti-bullying commission will be made by the President with the advice of Congress. After hearings and meetings, the members of the task force will be required to send Congress a report with recommendations for educators, parents, children, and legislators on best practices for:

  • Recognizing, responding to, and stopping bullying;
  • Managing situations in the classroom; and
  • Identifying policy changes that can help address the bullying epidemic.

The proposal has already received support from education advocacy organizations and unions, including the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers, said, “Danny’s Law gives us an opportunity to come together, identify the best ways to tackle bullying and then share them with parents and educators across the nation. This is work we need to do, and I thank Congressman Dan Donovan for making this a priority. By coming together, we can identify the best tools to help individual students and the most effective techniques to change a school’s culture.”

Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, said, “Rep. Dan Donovan has a sensible approach to helping schools address, discuss and combat bullying. His legislation would require President Trump to create a roundtable of education stakeholders, including a teacher, guidance counselor, child psychologist and bullied child, to produce a report on best practices for schools and educators. Bullying is pervasive in all areas of the country, and this legislation should pass overwhelmingly on a bipartisan basis.”

Bullying is a growing problem in schools throughout New York and nationwide. This year, 81% of children in grades 6-12 who responded to the Education Department’s annual NYC School Survey reported that students harass, bully and intimidate their peers. Additionally, nationwide statistics show that more than 70% of young people have seen bullying in their schools.

Full text of Danny’s Law can be found here: http://bit.ly/2yXtBna

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