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

State - Regional

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA/WBTW)- A South Carolina lawmaker wants to better 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.

Representative Linda Bennett (R- Charleston) wants to make sure schools and local districts are addressing the issue.

“They can’t ignore it anymore. They have to address it,” Bennett said.

Currently, the SC State Department of Education has a minimum student conduct code schools have to adopt.

The Charleston County lawmaker wants to take that a step further by 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 what it is 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 (R- Spartanburg) chairs the SC House Education and Public Works Committee and discussed some of the testimony presented at the meeting.

“Their child would come home very upset and all, and instead of anything being done about it, they felt like that all their words and everything just went by the wayside,” Rep. Allison said. “What really needs to happen is parents need to go sit down with the principal, with the teacher and all, and identify what the 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 SC State Department of Education does release bullying reports regularly and holds training with educators on positive intervention.

Count on News13 for updates on the progress of this bill.

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