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Mass. Considering Proposals To Fight Bullying

Beacon Hill lawmakers are considering several proposals to fight bullying at schools. The cause has gained steam from anti-defamation advocates and law enforcement officials, as well as parents.

Sirdeaner Walker, of Springfield, has been pushing for schools to be held more accountable since her 12-year-old son Carl took his own life last spring after he was repeatedly picked on and threatened.

"What we couldn't survive was the climate in my son's school," Walker said. "And there are many children here in our commonwealth of Massachusetts that are in unsafe environments as we speak today."

The bills define school bullying as behavior that is threatening or intimidating, or creates a hostile or abusive learning environment.

The bills would mandate school districts develop bullying prevention programs and require teachers to participate in anti-bullying training.

Supporters say that in the digital age, bullying means more than just taking someone's lunch money.
The bills would also target bullying by e-mail, texting or postings on Internet social media sites.

The bills are being heard Tuesday at the State House before the Education Committee.

This program aired on November 17, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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