Yesterday in the House Education committee room the Stop Bullying Louisiana Coalition, of which Forum For Equality is a proud member of, filled the room with educators, disability and LGBT advocates, school counselors, parents, students, bullied victims, social workers and friends and families of those who have taken their own lives due to bullying. These are organizations and individuals who have worked tirelessly to stop the epidemic of bullying in our state.
The School Bullying Prevention Act served to fill some major gaps in Louisiana’s current, anemic anti-bullying law by more clearly defining the ways in which bullying occurs and listing examples of actual or perceived characteristics among children, which could potentially put them at a higher risk for being bullied. The School Bullying Prevention Act also unifies and expands the present law to include six parishes that are currently exempt from following a legislative anti-bullying policy.
Unfortunately, Rep. Jeff Thompson introduced amendments that completely gutted the bill with those terrible amendments passing by a vote of 10 to 5. Rep. Smith immediately pulled the bill in response to the committee’s horrendous decision to strip the enumerated list, school employee protections and much more.
The votes against Rep. Thompson’s amendment thereby attempting to preserve HB 407 in its entirety: Rep. Henry Burns, Rep. John Bel Edwards, Rep. Edward Price, Rep. Pat Smith, Rep. Alfred Williams. These Representatives deserve our thanks and appreciation, especially in light of Governor Jindal’s offensive opposition to HB 407.
But on the other side of the aisle with a few swift notes and hollow testimony by his staffer Russel Armstrong, Gov. Bobby Jindal has attempted to sweep this issue under the rug. Tell Governor Jindal you are OUTRAGED that he would endanger the well-being and livelihood of our children in the name of political posturing, bigotry and ignorance.
Together for Louisiana,
SarahJane E. Brady
Forum For Equality
336 Lafayette Street, Suite 200
New Orleans, LA 70130