I have the honor to serve as the President of the Orleans Parish School Board, and like you I am alarmed by bullying that occurs so frequently in our schools. Bullying prevents every student from reaching their potential. It harms students emotionally and physically, and tragically sometimes traps a student in a downward spiral that leads to suicide or escalated retaliation. Empirical research shows that a child’s self-expectation is the single most significant factor in successful student performance. Bullying destroys our children’s futures.
That is why I have taken it upon myself to champion anti-bullying policies, programs and legislation. It is also why the Orleans Parish School Board adopted a strict anti-bullying policy last year and why we have urged others to do the same. With help from the Forum For Equality, our School Board also proposed that the Louisiana School Boards Association (LSBA) take a firm stand against Bullying. I am proud to let you know that on Friday the LSBA unanimously passed a resolution in support of HB 407, the Bullying Prevention Act of 2012. The LSBA is the largest association of elected officials in the state with 658 members.
This bill has been introduced by Representative Pat Smith and a companion bill by Senator Yvonne Dorsey at the request of the Louisiana Association of Educators, the premier teacher’s organization in our state. LAE leads an impressive and growing coalition of organizations – Stop Bullying Louisiana – which includes Forum For Equality, that are supporting this important legislation.
I testified on behalf of a similar bill last year, and I can tell you that even with LAE’s leadership and this great coalition, this will be an uphill battle. As you know, bigotry and prejudice are alive and well in Louisiana, and at the Capitol. That’s why we need your help. Please do three things today.
First, send an email to the House Education Committee that will hear this bill. Click here to be directed to Forum For Equality’s Take Action system, which allows you to send emails to the entire committee with a click of a button.
Second, urge your friends and family members to sign up in this same email system, so that they too can be informed of developments on the bill, and can also take action quickly. Just forward them this letter or this link.
Third, please donate to the Forum For Equality’s legislative efforts by clicking here. Forum For Equality has been fighting to stop bullying for many years, and has earned your support. I know that they will use all donations collected on behalf of the Bullying Prevention Act of 2012. Thank you.
Thomas Ainsworth Robichaux, JD
President, Orleans Parish School Board