The state Senate has passed legislation which would require school districts in Wisconsin to have develop plans to deal with bullying. “Too often, parents and teachers say bullying gets swept under the rug,” said Milwaukee Democrat Spencer Coggs. “When bullying is ignored we all lose.” Coggs began working the issue after a Milwaukee television station showed him videotape of a youngster being beaten at a school in his district. The bill would require the state Department of Public Instruction develop a model school policy on bullying, including reporting and investigation.
Sometimes victims lose their lives. Elkhorn Republican Neal Kedzie became involved in the issue after a teenager in his district was driven to suicide as the result of school bullying. “This (legislation) is not what some people try to frame as us being a nanny state,” said Kedzie. “This has gone way beyond skipping in front of some other child on the lunch line, taking her lunch money, pulling little girls’ pigtails.” Kedzie noted that the widespread use of social networking websites by students has led to “cyber bullying.”
Green Bay Democrat Dave Hansen, a former high school teacher, said a lot more is understood about bullying then when he taught in the 1970s.
The bill (SB-154), which passed Senate on a 29-3 vote, also designates Wednesday of the fourth week in September as Bullying Awareness Day.