Schools May Have To Do More To Help Bullied Students

Mar 16, 2012

BOISE, Idaho -- Idaho’s public schools may have to do more when it comes to stopping bullying. The state Senate approved legislation Thursday that would require schools to give tools to teachers on how to spot and stop bullying. It also says school employees must intervene if bullying happens.

Democratic Senator Nicole LeFavour told her colleagues there was a real need for this bill.

“The State Department of Education gets more than one call a week, more than one call a week from parents who are concerned because their school is not doing anything about the bullying that their child is experiencing,” LeFavour said.

The measure also defines bullying as harassment or intimidation that “places a student in reasonable fear of harm.” It also addresses cyberbullying as using technology to support “deliberate and hostile behavior.”

The legislation would require schools to report bullying incidents to the Department of Education.

Some lawmakers worried all of this would put too much pressure on schools. Republican Senator Sheryl Nuxoll said it should be handled at a local, not a state level.

“Really, are we making a mountain out of a molehill in many situations, with all the situations and reporting?" Nuxoll asked. "There will be situations where students just react and it will not be bullying but it will be accused of bullying.”

The bill passed the Senate and gets considered in the House.

Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio