The Senate Judiciary Committee narrowly voted today to send an anti-bullying bill (S1358) to the Senate amending order after extensive testimony and debate over, among other things, whether the bill would impact home-schooling parents whose children fight in the backseat of the family car.
Idaho Education Association Executive Director Robin Nettinga testified on behalf of the bill, noting that the frontiers of teenage bullying have greatly expanded over the past decade. She said that hallway gossip and playground fights used to be the main ways kids could bully one another. In the Internet and cell phone age, however, malicious words and harmful pictures can rocket around a school and beyond in minutes.
Senate Bill 1358 recognizes the realities of how students bully and harass each other in 2012. It also recognizes that it is a problem for which we all bear responsibility. The bill would strengthen Idaho’s existing anti-bullying laws by requiring school districts and charter schools to:
• annually provide information about bullying, harassment, and intimidation to all school personnel, parents, and students;
• provide ongoing professional development to help all school staff members “prevent, identify, and respond” to bullying;
• set a series of graduated consequences for bullying; and
• annually report bullying incidents to the State Department of Education.
Here's a news brief from the Associated Press on today's hearing. Call or email your State Senator soon to request that they move forward on S1358.