Archived Story

Bill addresses bullying problem

Published 2:34pm Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bullying is a problem in Chilton County Schools, just as it is in classrooms and hallways around the country, and it has been for years.

Any local resident who didn’t believe that before May 12, 2010, surely did after that day, when 15-year-old Jemison High School student Alex Moore leaped from an Interstate 65 overpass, killing herself.

Family and friends said constant bullying at school contributed to Moore’s decision.

While such an incident is tragic, the only course of action for the rest of us is to try to turn it into something positive.

No doubt teachers, students and administrators have spent some time since last spring thinking about their role in the lives of others and how such incidents could be avoided in the future.

The Chilton County Board of Education has adopted an anti-bullying policy, and now state Sen. Cam Ward will introduce a bill to the Legislature that would further discourage bullying in schools.

Senate Bill 25 was drafted after meeting with Moore’s parents, Jim and Jill Moore, and is even named the Alex Moore Anti-Bullying Act.

Components of the bill include:

•Require the Department of Education to develop a statewide policy related to student harassment and post it on its website.

•Require teachers and other school employees who witness suspected harassment to report it to the school principal.

•Grant civil immunity to anyone who reported suspected harassment or bullying.

•Transfer students guilty to repeated harassment to other schools.

“We don’t want to micromanage individual classrooms,” Ward told The Clanton Advertiser. “I just want there to be one policy across the state giving some guidelines (to help parents and students deal with bullying.)”

The full text of the bill can be found online at the Alabama Legislative Information System Online website, alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/acas.

Many local residents have an interest in this bill and would like to see it passed.

We hope the Legislature agrees.

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