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School Bullying in Spotlight at Indiana General Assembly

Last years rash of teen suicides led to much media attention on the problem of school bullying. Students like Greensburg High School’s Billy Lucas were harassed and called names by their peers, driving them to take their own lives.

Legislators in the General Assembly are considering a bill that would force schools to take a more active role in preventing bullying.The bill would require schools to publish the numbers of bullying incidents in their annual reports and work with parents to address responses to bullying. The bill would also require the Department of Education to evaluate prevention plans for schools’ use, and update the definition of bullying to include electronic or digital written communication.

Kim Harvey is an Indianapolis entrepreneur and co-founder of Angels and Doves, an anti-bullying program. Harvey says the most important part of the bill will be the cohesion it promotes among bullying prevention efforts, and the involvement of the Department of Education.

“I think they will only be effective if our state goes the next step and picks two or three bullying programs that they offer to all nineteen hundred schools in the state of Indiana, and enforce each school bringing in an anti-bullying program in every semester,” Harvey said.

Earlier this session, the senate voted to pass a school suicide prevention training bill, which helps schools to train teachers on how to recognize and deal with the warning signs of suicide.

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