Senator Fasano Promotes Legislation To Strengthen Anti-Bullying Law

May 2, 2007

Senator Len Fasano, R-North Haven, today helped secure Senate passage of legislation designed to strengthen and close the loopholes in the state’s existing anti-bullying law.

“We have an anti-bullying law on the books now because every student has the right to go to school without being afraid that someone is going to beat him, or her, up or otherwise make it impossible for him or her to feel safe, and to learn. The bill we passed today is intended to strengthen that law, and also to prevent school officials from taking the easy way out by sweeping under the rug incidents that should be treated as bullying incidents,” said Senator Fasano.

The legislation, SB 1094 An Act Concerning School Bullying, is now subject to further action by the House of Representatives. Specifically, the bill requires school boards to implement policies to address bullying, and expands the in-service topics that school boards must provide to include bullying prevention. Furthermore, the bill calls withholding some state education funds from school districts that fail to implement anti-bullying policies.

Furthermore, the bill passed today by the Senate includes Senator Fasano’s amendment to require school administrators to investigate physical altercations between students on school property and at school-sponsored activities to determine whether bullying contributed to the cause of the fight. In the event that bullying is found to be a contributing factor to the fight, then the school must respond according to the requirements of its anti-bullying policy.

“It isn’t enough to just punish everyone involved without first finding out what led to the fight. Sadly, some kids will put up with bullying for quite awhile before he, or she, gets frustrated enough to strike back. In at least some cases, the fight might have been prevented if school officials responded sooner, and appropriately, to the bullying situation. Regardless, the school officials should not be able to quickly, and easily, dispose of these incidents without finding out the cause, and responding appropriately. We’re supposed to be the adults, the people kids can trust to do the right thing on their behalf,” said Senator Fasano.