Groups push anti-bully bill

Thursday, March 15, 2012 - 10:08pm

The Governor's public school reform plan has taken center stage, but another bill will be seen by the House Education Committee soon, dealing with a highly publicized problem in public schools, bullying.

"Sort of hard to say if it's more or less frequent," with the Capitol City Alliance, "but what's true is that we're hearing about bullying incidents more."

Just days ago, Pointe Coupee teenager Tesa Middlebrook committed suicide because of alleged harassment. Thursday, members of two homosexual advocacy groups -- Capitol City Alliance and Parents, Friends and family of Gays and Lesbians -- met to discuss the importance of an anti-bullying bill, which they said is a crucial step to protection of all students.

"Having a bill that not only defines what bullying is, but what you can do to prevent it," said Kris Satterlee, with PFLAG. "Not just from students perspective, but teachers and administrators."

Advocates said this bill will not only strengthen somewhat weak anti-bullying rules that already exist, but also close loopholes in enforcement.

"It takes away exemptions six parishes already have," said Patterson. "It provides more specific definition of bullying, along with enumerating a list of motivating characteristics of bullying."

The bill also states that all school districts will have to provide training for employees so they can easily recognize harassment, intimidation and bullying. It will first have to pass the house education committee.

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