The Texas House of Representatives today passed anti-bullying legislation supported by Equality Texas on a final vote of 94 to 41. HB 1942 by Rep. Diane Patrick (R-Arlington) is the collaborative product of Rep. Patrick and members of the House Committee on Public Education, including Rep. Mark Strama (D-Austin), Rep. Mark Shelton (R-Fort Worth), Rep. Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City), and Committee Chair Rep. Rob Eissler (R-The Woodlands). The House had tentatively approved HB 1942 on Tuesday night on a 102 – 34 vote.
HB 1942 is the single best opportunity this session for the Texas Legislature to address the problem of bullying, cyberbullying, and harassment in Texas schools.
- For the first time, includes the definition of bullying in Chaper 37 (Discipline) of the Texas Education Code,
- Updates the definition of bullying to include that through electronic means (cyberbullying),
- For the first time, provides for the transfer of the student who engages in bullying. Currently, only the target of bullying may be transferred.
- Allows staff development to include training on preventing, identifying, responding to, and reporting incidents of bullying.
- Mandates that each 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.
Upon final passage by the House, HB 1942 must now begin the process in the Texas Senate. The bill must be secure a Senate sponsor, secure a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Education, be passed out of committee, and then be passed by the full Senate.
We must not let up in our efforts to secure passage of this bill into law.
Watch for Advocacy Campaigns upcoming to secure the support of your Texas State Senator.