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– Please read the passage below and respond to the directions which follow. Total Point value for this section is 25 points.
Senator Casey, along with several cosponsors, introduced an anti-bullying bill in the U.S. Senate. The bill, “the Safe Schools Improvement Act of 2019” (S. 2548), would amend “Title IV of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965” and, specifically, would mandate that “A State that receives a grant under this title shall require all local educational agencies in the State to. . . (1) Establish policies that prevent and prohibit . . . bullying and harassment, that—(A) limits a student’s ability to participate in, or benefit from, a program or activity of a public school or local educational agency; or (B) creates a hostile or abusive educational environment, adversely affecting a student’s education” (S. 2548, Section 3). In addition, such parties are also required to “Provide— (A) annual notice to students, parents, and educational professionals describing the full range of prohibited conduct contained in such local educational agency’s discipline policies; and (B) grievance procedures for students or parents to register complaints regarding the prohibited conduct”(S. 2548, Section 3). Such educational agencies, moreover, would be required under the law to collect and report data on Page 3 of 3 bullying and harassment “at the school level” (S. 2548, Section 3) and would be subject to “biennial evaluation” requirements to assess program efficacy (S. 2548, Section 3). In the bill, a number of congressional findings were also articulated. They included the following: “(1) Bullying and harassment foster a climate of fear and disrespect that can seriously impair the physical and psychological health of its victims and create conditions that negatively affect learning, thereby undermining the ability of students to achieve their full potential. (2) Bullying and harassment contribute to high dropout rates, increased absenteeism, and academic underachievement. (3) Bullying and harassment include a range of behaviors that negatively impact a student’s ability to learn and participate in educational opportunities and activities that schools offer. . . . (4) Schools with enumerated anti-bullying and harassment policies have an increased level of reporting and teacher intervention in incidents of bullying and harassment, thereby reducing the overall frequency and number of such incidents. . . . ” (S. 2548, Section 2).
For the purposes of this exercise, please assume this bill became law on the basis of evidence/hearings presented in Congress whereby bullying was demonstrated to hurt the educational environment for students and whereby Congress concluded that, in the aggregate, this behavior could have a serious effect on interstate commerce. That is, I want you to assume that Congress passed this law pursuant to its right to regulate interstate commerce. You are a constitutional law specialist, and you have been asked to write an analysis of this law’s constitutionality. Considering relevant case law, did Congress have the right to pass this law on the asserted basis? Explain. You should, of course, provide case support in your evaluation, wherever possible.