New law arms Texas schools in fight against bullying


by Eric Gonzales / KENS 5

Posted on August 28, 2012 at 7:43 AM

SAN ANTONIO -- A new state law that confronts bullying issues is in effect this school year. The law allows school districts  to transfer bullies off the campus to a different school. The new law has three points that help parents in dealing with bullying issues. 

The bill defines the definition of bullying for all the school districts in Texas. 
State Senator Leticia Van de Putte says they had some difficulty in dealing with freedom of speech issues and students on the internet. But now bullying is more defined by what a student does at school or any school function.
Districts will now have to have some type of anti-bullying policy in place starting this year.  Most districts have put help numbers on their websites to report bullying and Northside Independent School District has added texting features. 

“Last year we implemented a texting feature because, as you know, students text as opposed to talk on the phone,” said Pascual Gonzalez, spokesperson for NISD.
The bill will also allow the district the option of moving the bully out of the school instead of moving the victim.  

Rachel Hernandez  said, “I think it’s good because I don’t see why my son should be reprimanded for him being bullied and him having to start over at another school when he’s already established. And to start all over it’s not really fair for him.” 

Prior to this new law the victim was the one that usually would leave the school. This could often times lead to more stress for the very student who was targeted.

“It’s certainly traumatic for any child to be the victim of bullying activities. It’s also stressful to have that child removed from the space where he or she calls home,” said Gonzalez.
State Senator Leticia Van de Putte sponsored the bill last year and Governor Rick Perry signed it into law in June 2011. 

Van De Putte says she sponsored the bill after a group she called the Dozen Parent Coalition supported her efforts to move the law forward. Van de Putte says the law was a bipartisan effort from Republicans as well as state Democrats. 
Several of the parents in the group had family members who had resorted to suicide after being bullied in school.