Bully-banning bills get hearing in Texas Senate - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Bully-banning bills get hearing in Texas Senate

By Christie Post - email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – The Texas Senate heard testimony Tuesday on several bills that aim to ban bullying in schools. The senate committee on education heard from parents and advocates on several versions of the legislation that would prohibit all types of bullying in school.

According to the American Justice Department, each day 160,000 students miss school in fear of being bullied, and one in four kids have reported being bullied.

If passed, one of the bills sponsored by Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth would require that the bully be transferred to a different class or school, rather than the victim as it is in current practices.

But some school districts in Lubbock said they are already ahead of the proposed legislation.

"We've been ahead of this idea for the last two years," said Gerardo Arranaga, Frenship I.S.D. Chief of Police.

Bullying has been around for centuries, but now with technology it's a problem that some kids have taken to the next level. And schools are combating the problem.

"We want to make sure our kids are equipped to deal with it. Some of the things we used to think were effective, we know now are not as effective," said Anna Jackson, Lubbock I.S.D. Professional Development Coordinator.

In the past, bullying has led to Facebook slam pages, shootings and even suicides.

"They turn on their computer, they pick up their phone and see a text message. To me that would have to be such a violation and you can't ever escape it. So we have to help," said Pam Brown, Lubbock-Cooper I.S.D Director of Guidance.

A recent YouTube video showing a bully in action and it's making headlines. The video shows a student attacking an unlikely victim then the victim fights back.

"Sometimes it's more effective for a police officer to talk to an individual and explain to them if this continues it could become criminal conduct and we don't want you to go there," said Arranaga.

All the school districts said they are ahead of the legislation with techniques from anonymous tips to binding contracts.

"We have a no contact contract that we can form between two students. If a student is seen having any interaction with any teacher or anyone there is discipline taken," said Brown.

"We have a link on our district webpage where people can report this type of conduct. We also have a hotline where people can call in," said Arranaga.

L.I.S.D. plants to implement a similar web based reporting system that will allow kids to log in and report problems.

"Waco I.S.D. is one school that's using it and they felt they were able to prevent three suicides, because the students reported things they wouldn't have otherwise," said Jackson.

All three school districts said even though they already have anti-bullying programs they think mandated legislation will only help to be a backbone to the cause.

Copyright 2011 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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