State Senate Passes Antibullying Bill

The bill broadens the steps schools must take to address bullying both in and out of the school building.

antibullying rally

Photo: Joyce Costello/USAG Livorno PAO

Students at the Livorno Unit School learn ways to prevent and overcome bullying at a anti-bully rally.

Legislation aimed at better protecting students from bullying passed the Indiana Senate on Wednesday.

The legislation more clearly and broadly defines bullying as anything that creates a hostile learning environment for a student.  It also requires each public school to develop bullying prevention programs, report incidents of bullying to the Department of Education and provide training to teachers on the best ways to address bullying.

Sen. Pete Miller (R-Avon), the bill’s sponsor, says the legislation also addresses online bullying, even if it takes place out of school.

“So student A is harassing online student B. Under current law, there’s not much the school can do,” he says. “If it’s appropriate for those two students to be separated when they come back to school on Monday, we would want the school to have the tools to separate them, as appropriate.”

Some Republicans in both committee and on the floor tried to amend the bill, changing the definition of bullying to only include physical harassment. Those attempts failed, but Sen. Carlin Yoder (R-Middlebury) says his concerns about the bill still remain.

“If some of these type of activities are taking place in schools, they should be stopping that to begin with,” he says. “I’m not sure we need an additional law now to tell them they have to do that. That’s what schools should be doing currently, and I don’t think they need to be threatened with a lawsuit now because it’s in code this way.”

The House can now accept minor technical changes made by the Senate or take the bill to conference committee to resolve its differences with the Senate version.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search News

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

Follow us on Twitter

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Recent Politics Stories

Recent Videos

Find Us on Facebook