Local/Regional News
5:19 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Middle School Students Back In Frankfort To Lobby For Bullying Awareness Bill

A group of students from Madison Middle School returned to Frankfort Wednesday in their second attempt to pass House Bill 40.

The measure would designate October as Anti-Bullying Month and purple and yellow as the official colors of bullying awareness. Known as HB35 in the last regular session, the bill stalled in the Senate because some lawmakers said they were uncomfortable with pressure being put on them by lobbyists to include penalties in the bill.

Student Bailey Vanover told the panel the face of bullying is changing.

"According to a recent national report on crime and school safety, more than 30 percent of students between the ages of 12 and 18 said they were bullied or cyber-bullied during the school year. Bullying doesn't just happen inside school walls. Cyber-bullying is on the increase and can happen 24 hours a day, seven days a week," she said.

Anti-bullying legislation that included a code of conduct banning harassment based on a student’s race, religion, learning disabilities, sexual orientation, or gender identity failed to pass a House committee in 2012. Republicans on the panel argued that sufficient protections are already in place and the bill was more about gay rights in schools than bullying.