If D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray has his way the city government will confront–and end– bullying throughout the town.

“When one in every five children is a target of bullying each day, and these events all too often lead to severe social and emotional crises for our youth, we must let our young people know that we hear them,” Gray said April 10 when he unveiled the first element of a four-step plan to address bullying among young people.

Gray announced, just before the screening of the documentary “Bully,” the formation of an anti-bullying task force that is to be led by D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Kaya Henderson and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Cathy Lanier and to include the directors of the mayor’s office on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (GLBT) affairs, the parks department, and the health department.

The documentary film looks at the lives of five young people in a chronicle of bullying and its consequences and is to be screened throughout the city to young people.

“We must come together – government, non-profits, advocates, teachers and parents – to eradicate bullying in the District and promote safe and inclusive schools.”

The rest of Gray’s anti-bullying action plan calls for a research report on bullying, creation of a city model policy and anti-bullying standards and the establishment of a forum for D.C. agencies and stakeholders to learn about the District’s new anti-bullying efforts.

“The problem of bullying transcends the schoolyard. It is a fundamental issue of human rights, and requires the entire city to be present to promote solutions,” Gustavo Velasquez, director of the D.C. Office of Human Rights, said in a news release.

“We need to investigate where bullying occurs in the city and what makes the District different from other cities in incidents of bullying so we can develop and implement solutions to best help our youth.”

Last year, Gray proclaimed April 21 “Bully-Free D.C. Day.” Bully-Free Day is to be observed on the same day this year, too.

Bullying, a common occurrence for children and young adults as a victim, bully, or bystander, has been intensified through social networking media, according to social researchers. The city cited statistics that it said shows that nearly 32 percent of youth are bullied and more than 20 percent of children ages 10-18 are victims of cyberbullying
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A number of local non-profits and advocacy groups, including GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) and D.C. Alliance of Youth Advocates (DC AYA) will serve on the Anti-Bullying Task Force,