Smith celebrates passage of House Bill 1483 from House
House Bill 1483, authored by State Rep. Vernon G. Smith (D-Gary), passed out of the Indiana House of Representatives today by a vote of 92-1. Smith's bill would prohibit bullying in Indiana schools and require schools to report acts of bullying to the parents of both the victim and the perpetrator within a week of the incident being reported. In severe cases, the bill also requires either the victim to choose to move to another school in their district, or the perpetrator to be removed from the school. The bipartisan bill now moves to the Senate.
“Bullying is an epidemic in our schools and has been for years,” Smith said in a statement following the vote. “Research tells us that bullying is one of the leading causes of suicide in teenagers and young adults, and too often, children who are being bullied are told to 'tough it out' and not given the help they need and deserve. As adults, we have a responsibility to teach our children not just how to succeed academically and professionally, but how to treat one another as they move through the world.
“It is not enough to simply tell our young people to 'tough it out' when it comes to being bullied. This legislation gives schools and parents an opportunity to address the issue outright and work toward a solution while prioritizing the child who is being victimized.
“I'm very proud that this important legislation passed out of the House, and I look forward to seeing it move through the Senate. I've been authoring similar legislation for years, and this is the first time it's gotten a hearing, much less gotten a vote on the floor. It's high-time that we work to address bullying and make it known that it will not be tolerated in our schools. Anything we can do to make schools safer for children is crucial to making Indiana a better place for everyone.”