Idaho Senate Passes Anti-Bullying Bill
March 15, 2012 2 Comments
In a 25-8 vote, Thursday morning, the Senate passed a measure that would bolster Idaho’s current anti-bullying law.
According to Betsy Russell with the Spokesman-Review,”The bill clarifies the definition of bullying in Idaho schools, an infraction; requires school districts to have policies and to train staff on the issue, and to report and address cases of bullying.”
The bill made it out of the Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee last week after a somewhat contentious hearing, during which Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls scolded the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, for what he saw as “quarreling” over the legislation.
Many saw Davis’s attitude last week as punishment for LeFavour’s unwavering support for a separate bill that would add the word’s “sexual orientation and gender identity” to Idaho’s human rights law.
During testimony before the vote on Thursday,”Senator Edgar Malepeai, D-Pocatello, said as a teacher, “I have dealt with bullying at the high school level. … It’s there.” He said what’s missing is a consistent policy to ensure school districts address it,” Russell reports.
Currently, Idaho has the fourth highest suicide rate in the nation. Studies have shown that those who have been bullied and or harassed at school can be affected by the actions well into their adult years.
While the new bill is not specifically aimed at LGBT students, strengthening the law would make it easier to combat non-gender conforming and sexual orientation bullying as well.