By Frank Knaack
Policy and Advocacy Strategist
The Senate Education Committee heard testimony today on three bills seeking to address the serious issue of bullying in Texas schools. The testimony included the tragic stories of three kids who committed suicide after undergoing years of bullying at their schools. The victim’s parents testified that they followed procedure – they had gone to their kids’ schools and asked the schools to intervene … to stop the bullying. Their calls for help were ignored.
The testimony we heard today from these parents matches what the ACLU has been told by the victims of bullying for years … despite existing law prohibiting bullying in schools and existing law requiring the enforcement of that prohibition, the pleas for help at school are often ignored. The result is unacceptable.
The solution? We must hold school officials accountable when they fail to protect Texas’ children.
Of the bills currently under consideration by the Legislature, Senator Whitmire’s SB 205 comes closest to a real solution. SB 205 creates a clear statutory framework to ensure that district officials report, investigate, and respond appropriately to allegations of bullying or harassment. In addition, SB 205 requires that each school policy identify a school official responsible for ensuring the policy is implemented.
SB 205 will provide the process to help ensure that allegations of bullying and harassment are reported, investigated, and remedied in all Texas public schools. Please contact your legislators today and urge them to support SB 205. With your help, we can all make Texas schools a safe place!