Legislature Passes Bullying Bill, Awaiting Pence Signature

The bill tightens the legal definition of bullying, and explicitly includes cyberbullying for the first time.

statehouse

Photo: Jasont82 (Wikimedia)

The proposal passed both chambers easily, with just 14 no votes in the Senate and nine in the House.

A bill to help schools clamp down on bullying is on its way to Governor Pence. The bill tightens the legal definition of bullying, and explicitly includes cyberbullying for the first time.

Legislators say bullying has made the transition into the 21st century with harassment on Facebook and other social media, and school discipline policies need to keep up.

The proposal requires the state to count and categorize bullying incidents. And schools would have to adopt detailed policies on investigating and preventing bullying, including teacher training and bullying-prevention education for students.

The bill had sparked vocal opposition in a Senate committee from legislators who feared the proposal could infringe First Amendment rights, but the proposal ended up passing both chambers easily, with just 14 no votes in the Senate and nine in the House.

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