School Bullying Statistics Prompt Action in D.C.

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Congress is taking up the issue of schoolyard bullies-- a problem that can lead to emotional scars, and in some cases even death.

It happens everyday from the classroom to the playground, but Wednesday, the issue of bullying landed in the halls of Capitol Hill.

"School bullying is a national crisis and we need a national solution to deal with it," said Sirdeaner Walker, whose son committed suicide after being bullied.

Lawmakers are considering the "Safe Schools Improvement Act," which aims to stamp out bullying by requiring schools to collect data on bullying and come up with disciplinary guidelines and policies to register complaints.

They heard from educational and psychological experts, as well as students themselves.

Jackie Andrews, daughter of a New Jersey congressman Rob Andrews, talked about a curriculum and musical she co-produced with her sister.

"I've too experienced the pain," she said.  "I was a victim of bullying myself."

Their goal is to get bystanders to speak out.

"If just one other person had stood up behind, the bully never would have prevailed.  But no one did," Andrews added.

Likely the most dramatic testimony came from Sirdeaner Walker, who last April had just finished cooking when she went to check on her 11-year-old son, Carl, in his room.

"I imagined he'd be doing his homework or playing his video games," she recalled.  "Instead, I found him hanging by an extension cord tied around his neck."

Walker described Carl as a boy who loved God and his family, but the kids at school described him much differently, using gay slurs that drove him to take his own life.

The panel described bullying as a national epidemic.

One-third of America's school students report being bullied at least once a month and six out of 10 say they witness someone being bullied daily.

Some 3.2 million kids in grades 6-10 say they're a victim of bullying each day.

Lawmakers agreed when Carl's mother said her son's death is not in vain. This hearing serves as proof.

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