Georgia Senate Unanimously Passes Anti-Bullying Measure
April 30, 2010
Late last night, the Georgia State Senate unanimously passed legislation which substantially extends anti-bullying provisions in schools. House Bill 927, which contained the provisions, seemed dead in the water earlier this year until Representative Mike Jacobs – a Republican from Atlanta – was able to amend Senate Bill 250 to include the language. Passage is a huge victory for Georgia Equality! The new legislation does not provide enumerated categories for protection from bullying, but does provide for any student experiencing bullying, including LGBT students, the right to have that bullying stopped by administrators. SB 250 explicitly extends Georgia’s anti-bullying codes to cover all students, not just those in 6th to 12th grades as provided for in the preexisting code. It adds cyberbullying as a recognized form of bullying, and requires the Georgia Department of Education to draw up model anti-bullying policies. Support for the legislation in the House and Senate arose after the tragic death of Jaheem Herrera. Jaheem was a 5th Grader in DeKalb County, Georgia, who committed suicide. He had been harassed by classmates for not being “masculine” enough. Bullying at all educational levels remains a serious problem, but legislation such as SB 250 provides students and their parents with a mechanism to seek help. The bill now goes to Governor Purdue for his signature. For more information on HRC’s efforts to strengthen school administrators’ approaches to family diversity, gender stereotyping, and bullying, check out our new “Welcoming Schools” guide.
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