On Thursday, June 28, 2012, Congressman Mike Honda and his colleagues launched the Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus (CABC). The CABC is a bipartisan caucus made up of members of Congress who are “committed to the belief that all communities deserve a safe environment to thrive, and that our nation is in urgent need of solutions that stop bullying – both offline and online – now and forever.”
While the link between bullying and homelessness might seem remote, youths often cite school issues as a factor in their pathway to homelessness. Bullying can enhance feelings of isolation and can contribute to a youth feeling disconnected from their community. Problems at home only exacerbate this problem. As a colleague recently stated, if a youth feels marginalized at school and misunderstood (or worse) at home, they might see leaving as their only option.
“More than thirteen million children are teased, taunted, and physically assaulted by their peers each year,” Chairman Honda said in a statement. “This bullying is not confined to classroom walls; the fear and hurt that so many people feel in America today is an urgent call to action.”
The CABC is seeking to address the bullying component of this problem, and the Alliance is one of the organizations formally supporting the caucus. Our focus, however, remains on finding solutions for youth homelessness and seeking strategies to prevent it when possible. Family interventions might be one prevention method with ties to the bullying issue. For example, the Family Acceptance Project is an initiative that works towards helping ethnically, socially, and religiously diverse families decrease rejection and increase support for their LGBT children. Youth who feel accepted and supported are more likely to remain in their home, stability which can have long-lasting positive outcomes, and which might help mitigate any harassment faced at school.
Readers interested how bullying has affected the lives of youths can find personal stories online at Congressman Honda’s web site.
The Alliance remains committed to exploring prevention strategies and solutions to youth homelessness. We look forward to seeing the results of CABC’s efforts.