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Texas House Passes Anti-Bullying Bill

Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

An anti-bullying bill has cleared a major hurdle towards becoming law. House Bill 1942 cleared the Texas House by a final vote of 94-41.

The bill, authored by State Rep. Diane Patrick (R-Arlington), hopes to, according to the bill's analysis, "take a preventive approach to reducing bullying in Texas public schools and to provide a minimal framework for schools to use in adopting and implementing a bullying policy, while being cognizant of the local control independent school districts should have in developing policy reflective of their respective communities."

The Anti-Defamation League of Austin,a group in favor of the bill, is applauding the Texas House.

"We have worked extensively with state representatives and their staff members to get anti-bullying and anti-cyberbullying laws on the books in Texas," ADL Austin Community Director Karen Gross said in a press release. "We are encouraged that the House Public Education Committee voted Representative Patrick’s bill out of committee, and by such a large margin," Gross added.

Not everyone is pleased with the passing of the legislation.  MerryLynn Gerstenschlager, vice-president of the Texas Eagle Forum, criticized the bill in a blog post on the organization's website.

While TEF acknowledges the fact that data indicate that approximately thirty percent of American children report being involved in bullying- either as the bully, the victim or both,* we believe that this should be addressed at the local level by parents and local school authorities.

Gerstenshlager was the only witness to testify against the bill when it went before the House Public Education Committee.

No Democrats voted against the bill, and it will now head to the Senate where it will go before committee.


Mario will be an intern at KUT for the spring of 2011. He is currently a student at UT Austin pursuing his MA in Journalism. Prior to UT, he spent 27 months in Costa Rica as a Peace Corps Volunteer. His reporting interests include Mexican-American studies, immigration issues, and the ongoing drug war in Mexico. He was born in Chihuahua, Mexico but grew up in El Paso, Texas and has a BA in Communication from UT-San Antonio.