Senate committee passes cyber bullying bill

A bill that would require school districts to adopt policies to combat cyber bullying was recently approved by a state Senate committee and could soon make its way before the full Senate.

“Matt’s Safe School Law,” adopted in 2011, requires school districts to have a bullying prevention policy, but is silent on the growing problem of cyber bullying. Senate Bill 74, sponsored by Sen. Glenn Anderson, D-Westland, would require districts to also address cyber bullying.

Anderson’s bill, which MEA supports, would also allow the state Department of Education to collect bullying statistics from school districts. As it stands, districts must compile the statistics, but don’t have to report their findings to the state.

“While technology offers our children incredible new opportunities to learn, grow and express themselves, it also presents deeply troubling opportunities to hurt one another through the onslaught of cyber bullying,” Anderson told WBUP/WBKP-TV. “Student victims of cyber bullying are unable to escape the reach of social networking, texting and the like — allowing bullies to broadcast their hurtful words to a larger audience than ever before with the touch of a button. This legislation will help to ensure that local schools are taking steps to create the safe learning environment that Michigan’s students deserve.”