FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Matt Visaggio
April 18, 2008 (239) 344-4900
REPRESENTATIVES NICK THOMPSON AND
GARY AUBUCHON WORK TO PROTECT ALL STUDENTS
TALLAHASSEE – Legislation protecting Florida’s students from bullying won approval on the House floor today. House Bill (HB) 173, sponsored by Representative Nick Thompson, Representative Ellyn Bogdanoff and Representative Gary Aubuchon is named the Jeffrey Johnston Stand up for All Students Act, for the Cape Coral student who committed suicide in 2005 after being the victim of bullying by a classmate.
“For three years, Jeffrey’s mother has worked to preserve the memory of her son and to protect all Florida’s children from bullying,” said Representative Thompson. “For her, and for countless other parents and children around the state, I’m proud that the Florida House passed this important legislation.”
“This bill increases transparency and formalizes the ability of schools to protect our children,” said Representative Aubuchon. “Our children are the most important members of our society, and this legislation will keep them safer.”
HB 173 prohibits the bullying or harassment, including cyber bullying, of any public K-12 student or employee. It requires the Department of Education to adopt a model policy to prohibit bullying and harassment and directs all school districts to adopt a similar policy. School districts are directed to work with students, parents, teachers, administrators, and local law enforcement on developing this policy. School districts will be required to report all instances of bullying or harassment and to notify the parents of the bully and the parents of the victim. The required communication among parents, students and teachers about incidents of bullying will help to prevent acts of violence and future tragedies. Schools should be a safe place for teachers and children to teach and learn. House Bill 669 will make our schools safer throughout the State of Florida.
The Senate companion for HB 173 is Senate Bill 790 which is in the Senate Education Pre-K Committee.