STATEHOUSE — A bill that would crack down on bullying by placing more requirements to curtail it in school districts has cleared a State Senate committee.
House Bill 1483, which has already been passed by the House, would place new requirements on school districts to better report incidents of bullying both to the parents of the victim and the parents of the perpetrator.
Several people testified to senators in the committee hearing on Wednesday.
“As a public school teacher, I have been alarmed at the differences between districts on how bullying situations are handled or, at times, avoided,” said one teacher from Elkhart who is also a parent. “I teach in a good school system. I know the ropes, know how to navigate the system, and I could not protect my children from bullying. I had to uproot them and put them in a neighboring district.”
She said that was because when her child reported the bullying to adults at their school, the school did not inform her that it was happening.
Representatives with bullying advocacy groups like Rio’s Rainbow also spoke at the hearing.
“When we can identify high-risk students by tracking their behavior, we can then provide appropriate intervention,” said Jessie Jost with Rio’s Rainbow. “However, as it stands, our children are currently suffering in silence.”
Other portions of the bill give the school district authority and better guidelines in order to transfer a perpetrator to another school within the district away from the victim. There was a provision in the bill that would allow the victim and their parents to have a say over that process, but an amendment removed that putting sole authority over the transfer of a perpetrator back to the school district.
The bill passed 11-0 out of committee and will be heard in the full Senate soon. It will then have to go back to the House for approval since there were changes made in the Senate before it can be sent to Gov. Holcomb.
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