On Tuesday, March 13, CAIR-Columbus Public Affairs Coordinator Usjid Hameed testified before the Ohio House Education and Career Readiness Committee in favor of HB 360 – The Ohio Anti-Bullying and Hazing Act.
The bill, sponsored by Representative Dave Greenspan, seeks to establish an explicit and unambiguous anti-bullying state statue for school districts to implement. While HB 360 contains numerous provisions, CAIR-Columbus emphasized the following during the hearing:
- HB 360 allows for school districts to offer counseling for the suspended or expelled pupil which will aid in uncovering and remedying the pupil’s motivations for engaging in bullying.
- HB 360 mandates that the school district maintain a record verifying that the parent or guardian is notified of any incident of harassment, intimidation, or bullying. This is a vital provision of the bill as it will ensure that parents are informed regarding incidents of bullying against their children.
- HB 360 mandates that the superintendent of a school district investigate any report of bullying, intimidation, or harassment by a school official or volunteer. While this provision will protect all students, it will especially benefit American-Muslim students as a quarter of all bullying incidents against Muslim students involve a school official or a teacher.
CAIR-Columbus has been a vocal proponent of the bill and has worked with Representative Greenspan to include language to hold school officials accountable for engaging in bullying. In addition, CAIR-Columbus advocated for the bill during its “Muslim Day at the State Capitol” event in October 2017.
“Unfortunately, American Muslims are all too familiar with the issue of bullying. Our community has seen an increase in both the frequency and intensity of bullying incidents since the 2016 election,” Hameed said. “This bill is a step in the right direction to ensure that Ohio’s schools are a safe and comfortable place to learn.”
As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, CAIR-Ohio does not endorse any particular candidate or political party for any office.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.
The CAIR-Ohio affiliate has three chapters in Ohio – Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.