Bullying is an age-old issue that’s become more complex in the digital age, as students can harass one another via text message and social media as well as in person. The Idaho Education Association strongly supports an anti-bullying bill that was introduced in the Idaho Legislature this week.
Senate Bill 1220 is closely related to a bill that passed the Senate last year with just three “no” votes but never came up for a vote in the House. 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;
• annually report bullying incidents to the State Department of Education.
The legislation has strong bipartisan support and is co-sponsored by Sen. Shawn Keough (R-Sandpoint), Sen. John Goedde (R-Coeur d’Alene), Rep. Mack Shirley (R-Rexburg), Rep. Brian Cronin (D-Boise), and Rep. Christy Perry (R-Nampa). It was introduced into the Senate Judiciary Committee, but Senate Education Committee secretary LeAnn South said it will be heard by that panel, possibly as early as next week.