Anti-Bullying Bill Goes to Committee

A bill aimed at combating bullying and hazing in public schools has been sent to the House Education Committee where it is currently waiting for a hearing.

Sponsored by Assistant Minority Whip Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Salt Lake City, the bill, HB 325, requires public school districts and charter schools to set uniform, minimum standards to address and prevent all forms of bullying, hazing or retaliation for reporting. It also provides training on bullying and hazing for school employees.

Although the Utah legislature passed an anti-bullying resolution in the 2006 general session, currently no uniform policies exist to address handling reports of bullying. Handling such reports is left to the discretion of individual principals, and no system exists for schools to share information on bullying.

Equality Utah, a local gay-rights group that helped create the bill, has said that HB 325 will make schools safe for all students by protecting them from the harmful effects of bullying – which several long-range studies have listed as physical illness, poor academic performance, and the development of depression and anxiety disorders.

To move HB 325 out of committee, supporters of the bill are encouraged to contact members of the House Education Committee, whose names and contact information are listed below.

Equality Utah has encouraged its members to contact the representatives. The group stresses that emails should be courteous, brief and individualized.

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