Anti-Bullying Bill

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Soon your child could have more protection against the school bully. A bill requiring schools to set up standards to spot and report bullying passed the House. Gay and lesbian groups want the bill amended to offer more protection for homosexual students.

Monday Ryan Skipper would have been 27. “Happy birthday dear Ryan.” His parents were at the Capitol to celebrate his birthday and mourn the son they lost to a hate crime.

“You get up everyday and you say, I’m going to take another day. And you do something that day to make a difference.”

Ryan was openly gay. Last year he was stabbed to death in Polk County. His parents say the bullying started in school long before he was murdered.

“He endured name calling, throwing stones and sticks at his vehicle as he left the school parking lot, assaulted after school.”

An anti-bullying bill passed the House. Gay and Lesbian groups want the Senate’s version to specially address bullies who pick on homosexuals.

Gays and lesbians are the victims on one out of every three hate crimes.

House sponsor Ellyn Bogdanoff says amending the bill to specifically address any group would take the focus off the legislation’s true intent.

“Whether or no the child belongs to a particular category or not, there’s a behavioral issue with that bully. They’d bully anybody and for what every reason because they have a need to bully people and that’s were we need to focus.”

Right now the focus for lawmakers is on getting the bill passed before the end of session, but amending the bill this late in the game could postpone a vote for another year.

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