Legislative efforts to protect bullied children in Texas schools just passed the Senate Education Committee. The Texas House passed House Bill 1942 on May 4. The full Senate must now approve the bill to send it on to Gov. Rick Perry for his signature.
If HB 1942 becomes law, it would:
- Include the definition of bullying in Chaper 37 (Discipline) of the Texas Education Code.
- Update the definition of bullying to include bullying through electronic means (cyberbullying).
- Provide for the transfer of the student who engages in bullying. Currently, only the target of bullying may be transferred.
- Allow staff development to include training on preventing, identifying, responding to, and reporting incidents of bullying.
- Mandate that the board of trustees of each school district adopt a policy, including any necessary procedures, to address the prevention, investigation and reporting of incidents of bullying.
The Texas Freedom Network supports passage of HB 1942. But religious-right groups have opposed such legislation, bizarrely arguing that it somehow promotes homosexuality. Sexual orientation isn’t even mentioned in HB 1942. Yet crass political calculations apparently lead extremist groups like Texas Eagle Forum to oppose any bill that just might have the effect of also protecting gay kids from abuse.