Child advocates take anti-bullying push to Indiana Statehouse

Bill would make schools accountable

INDIANAPOLIS - Child advocates are taking their message that bullying needs to stop to the Indiana Statehouse.

Lawmakers are considering an anti-bullying bill, House Bill 1423 , that some contend would hold schools accountable for bullying incidents and increase prevention efforts.

"Indiana ranks third in the country in terms of bullying incidents at school and cyber bullying," said Mindi Goodpaster, public policy director for the Marion County Commission on Youth. "We’re not really doing anything to prevent that from happening in school."

The bill requires school districts to include the number and nature of bullying in an annual performance report.

The legislation also mandates school corporations set up detailed procedures for investigating and reporting bullying, as well as support services for the victim.

Schools would also have to provide bullying preventing education to students, as well as training to school employees and volunteers.

"It would teach administrators how to provide a safe, supportive environment where kids are respectful and learning and not just to each other, but to staff," said Goodpaster.

The Indiana Department of Education would periodically review each school corporation's policy on bullying to ensure that the policy is up to date.

"The bill would increase accountability for schools and would give us a better understanding in terms of reporting what it is that we’re dealing with," said Goodpaster. "It would help with intervention measures, because oftentimes, teachers don't know how to intervene."

The House Education committee will discuss the bill authored by Rep. Greg Porter, D-Indianapolis, on Monday, Feb. 18 at 9:30 am in Room 156-C.

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