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IN anti-bullying legislation

The House Education Committee Monday will consider legislation aimed at curbing the spread of bullying in schools.  The bill’s author wants to get schools across Indiana on the same page.

Representative Greg Porter (D-Indianapolis) says bullying has become an epidemic, with dropouts and absenteeism on the rise as a result.  Porter says one of the most important things his bill can do is create a definition.

“From one school corporation to another, sometimes it doesn’t mean the same.  Sometimes it’s kind of subjective, so what we’re trying to do with this piece of legislation is try to put some uniformity or some teeth into the definition of bullying.”

The definition would now include cyber-bullying and any actions or gestures that create a harmful school environment for a student.  The bill also requires the state Department of Education and school safety specialists to develop guidelines for reporting bullying incidents and antibullying education programs. 

Porter says the state should include administrators, teachers, parents and students in the discussion.

“We can no longer just say, ‘Oh, kids will be kids’ or if there’s a noose in somebody’s locker, ‘Oh, that’s nothing.’  It doesn’t work like that anymore and we just need the people to be sensitized to when you see something of that magnitude.”

Porter says Monday’s committee hearing will include testimony from several community organizations and children who have been victims of bullying.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. 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.
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