Today, in the legislature, lawmakers are looking to change the definition of bullying to hold students accountable for their words on and off campus.
In this ‘Not in Our Town’ we look at how bullying procedures could change if the state legislature gets its way.
This bill would change the definition of bullying to include electronic devices– which is cyberbullying.
And it makes students responsible for what they say, regardless of where they say it. Some schools have already adopted these policies. I spoke with one of the bill sponsors on why this is necessary.
Rep. Pat Heinert: “A policy is good, but policy can change by school district and by school boards. So if we implement this into state law, then we’re also telling local law enforcement that you need to participate in this, you need to help the schools out.”
Heinert says state law is the only way to standardize bullying policy. Senator Nicole Poolman introduced this bill. Along with being a lawmaker, she’s a teacher at Century High School. Poolman says kids used to be able to leave school behind when they headed home, but with cell phones now– that’s nearly impossible.
Nicole Poolman; Century High Teacher: “And now, all the bullying and all the drama that surrounds them follow them right into their bedroom with that phone.”
The House is expected to vote on this bill, this week. It was given a 12-0 do pass recommendation from the House Education Committee. If passed, legislation goes on to the Governor for his signature, making it law.