Rep. Porter’s bill about reporting bullying in schools passes out of committee

January 29, 2018 Gregory W. Porter

INDIANAPOLIS – Efforts by State Representative Gregory W. Porter (D-Indianapolis) to strengthen state laws designed to stop bullying in Indiana schools have been approved by the House Education Committee and now move to the House floor.

Porter said House Bill 1356 is designed to encourage school corporations to report incidents of bullying, remind schools that they are required to report such incidents, and emphasize they will not be penalized for honestly reporting that such things are taking place. It was inspired by local TV reports that said many school corporations are misreporting bullying incidents.

The bill asks the Department of Education to conduct audits of school corporations to ensure that bullying incidents are being accurately reported, as well as requiring school corporations to submit reports containing the number of bullying incidents involving students.

“I authored this bill because I want schools to be able to honestly report the number of bullying incidents that happen in their schools,” Rep. Porter said. “Currently, schools are not providing accurate information on their reports of incidents of bullying involving students for fear that it might cause them to lose school funding. Losing funding is not the intent of this bill. Protecting students is.”

Representative Porter has hopes that the bill could also lower the school dropout rate.

“When bullying doesn’t get accurately reported, then it is harder to solve the problem. Kids that are relentlessly bullied end up dropping out,” Rep. Porter commented. “If we can help stop bullying from happening, the dropout rate will decrease.

“I am asking for the Department of Education to assess the instances of bullying that are happening in schools, and to look at the evidence that can be reported honestly from schools, where they will not have any fear of losing their funding,” he concluded.