In a move that gives protection to gay youth, Texas lawmakers have passed a bill related to bullying in public schools.
The Texas House of Representatives gave final approval to House Bill 1942 on May 24, following the state senate’s previous approval. It will now go to Governor Rick Perry, who was expected to sign it as of press time on May 28.
“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 Committee members contributed to lead this bill to fruition.”
The efforts to pass an anti-bullying law have extended over multiple legislative sessions dating back over 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 Texas and across the country, helped propel the legislation.
Amy and David Truong of Houston lost their son, Asher Brown, eight months ago to a 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. “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, include education about the signs and solutions for bullying in health curriculum, allow school boards the discretion to transfer a student found to have bullied to another classroom or campus in consultation with the parent or guardian, and require local school districts to adopt a bullying policy that prohibits bullying, provides counseling options, and establishes reporting procedures. —Josef Molnar