Bill requiring schools to adopt strict bullying policy heads to SC Senate

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COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- A South Carolina lawmaker wants to protect our students by proposing a vigorous and robust bullying plan schools in the state would have to adopt.

Bullying is an issue educators, students and parents are too familiar with.

And Representative Linda Bennett wants to make sure schools and local districts are addressing the issue. “They can’t ignore it anymore. They have to address it.”

Right now, the state department of education has a minimum student conduct code schools have to adopt. But the Charleston County. lawmaker wants to take that a step further.

Representative Bennett is calling for schools to develop a plan to respond to bullying cases, addressing triggers at school and home.

“Some of these children are extremely angry about something and we need to figure out and reach out to these children and help them address these issues. We don’t know what’s going on in their personal lives or outside of school and I think some of that is coming into the classroom,” explained Bennett.

The plans will have to define bullying, including harassment and intimidation in that definition.

Schools will also have to develop a system of reporting, responding, and remediation.

Representative Rita Allison from Greenville chairs the House Education & Public Works Committee. Rep. Allison discussed some of the testimony presented at the meeting.

“A lot of parents felt their child would come home very upset and all and instead of something being done about it they felt their words were going by the waste side. They need to be able to sit down with the principal and the teacher and identify what those problems are.”

The proposal also requires schools and districts to include remediation suggestions in those bullying plans, including counseling, meeting with parents and alternative learning.

The state department of education does release bullying reports regularly and holds training with educators on positive intervention.

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