Bill Would Block Bullying
Researchers agree with Shelton.
"Studies have shown that kids like in Columbine and in the student down in Joplin have been victims of bullying, and so I think that sends a clear message that anti-bullying programs are important," counselor Jim Leftwich said.
Programs work at some schools, but some experts said the issue needs attention.
A new report said that almost half of Missouri's youth have reported saying that bullying is somewhat or a very serious problem at their school. It's not just happening in the classroom. Bullying can happen just about anywhere, even when children are supervised. Bullying happens in school hallways, as well as on the bus, on the playground, and even in the bathroom.
State lawmakers want to step in.
"We whisper about it, but we have to bring it straight forward so people will say it's happening. We're not going to put up with it anymore and we are going to protect our children," Rep. Sarah Lampe said. "We don't want to take away local control, but we want to give guidance to local school districts. We want to give them something to fall back on."
The bill prohibits bullying based on issues like race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and physical appearance. It also prohibits bullying at school and on the school bus, and it establishes a 5fivestep procedure to deal with bullying.
There are some in opposition to the bill.
"Why not just say bullying is bullying, bullying is bad, lets protect all the children of Missouri," Rep. Ed Robb said.
Children want the protection, and for Missouri schools to be safer for everyone.
"Well they could police it more, have bigger consequences, and that would make people stop doing it," Shelton said.
The study, sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network shows that almost half the students who've been harassed or assaulted at school did not report it. They often believed administrators either wouldn't do anything about it, or their efforts would make things worse.