HOUSTON – In a move that gives protection to gay youth, Texas lawmakers have passed a bill which stifles bullying in public schools.
The Texas House of Representatives gave final approval to House Bill 1942 on May 24 following the state senate’s approval, and it will now go to Governor Rick Perry, who is expected to sign it.
“Parents and children deserve to know they are within safe walls while receiving an education, said Rep. Diane Patrick (R-Arlington), the primary author of the bill. “I am especially grateful for the work that Rep. Mark Strama [D-Austin] and other House Public Education members contributed to lead this bill to fruition.”
The efforts to pass an anti-bullying law have extended over multiple legislative sessions dating back more than 15 years; however, added energy from Texas parents whose children have suffered from bullying, as well as the recent stories of bullying-related tragedies in the state and across the country, helped propel the legislation.
Amy and David Truong of Houston lost their son, Asher Brown, eight months ago to bullying-related suicide, and the couple has been working for passage of the law.
“It was a promise I made to Asher the day that he died before his little body left this house,” Amy Truong said in response to the vote. “I told him that I would never stop fighting until we did something to change this.”
The new law will establish a new bullying definition that includes bullying through electronic means; requires education about the signs and solutions for bullying in health curriculum; allows school boards the discretion to transfer a student found to have bullied to another classroom or to another campus in consultation with the parent or guardian; and requires local school districts to adopt a bullying policy which prohibits bullying, provides counseling options, and establishes reporting procedures.