CO Legislature Passes Anti-Bullying Bill

We received this press release late yesterday from One Colorado and wanted to pass the great news to all of you.

Colorado Legislature Gives Final Approval to Bi-Partisan Anti-Bullying Bill

HB-1254 Heading to Governor’s Desk

DENVER – Today, a conference committee sent HB-1254 back to the Colorado Senate and House, where the bill was given full and final approval. If signed into law, HB-1254, a bill to reduce bullying in schools, will clearly define bullying, require each school district to adopt a comprehensive anti-bullying policy, and create a grant program to which schools can apply in order to fund bullying prevention programs.

“All students deserve to go to school free from fear, isolation, and harassment,” said Brad Clark, Executive Director of One Colorado, a statewide LGBT advocacy organization. “It’s our job as adults to ensure every student is protected and safe in our schools. HB-1254 is an important step toward addressing the pervasive problem of bullying against Colorado’s young people.”

In March, the House passed HB-1254 with overwhelming bipartisan support on a 47-18 vote. Representatives Sue Schafer and Kevin Priola successfully sponsored the bill in the House. Senator Pat Steadman sponsored the bill in the Senate, which gave its approval on May 5.

“Over the past decade, Colorado has made earnest attempts to ensure that students are protected in schools, but sadly, bullying and harassment continues—and not just on the playground or in classrooms but on mobile phones, computers, and other electronic devices,” said Senator Pat Steadman. “This bill sends a clear message that bullying is no longer an adolescent rite of passage but a serious problem that will not be tolerated in our schools.”

Because the Senate version differed from the House version of the bill, HB-1254 was reconciled in conference committee. Both chambers gave their approval to the final version of the bill today, and it now moves to the Governor’s desk.

In fall of 2010, One Colorado, the Colorado Association of School Boards, the Colorado Association of School Executives, the Colorado Education Association, and the American Federation of Teachers—Colorado called on the state legislature to take immediate action to stop bullying and harassment in Colorado schools. The coalition that is advocating for HB-1254 now represents nearly 30 organizations—women’s rights organizations, LGBT groups, and health associations—who are united in their commitment to creating safe school environments for all students.

“Bullying and harassment must stop in our schools. We all have a responsibility to ensure that every young person who sits in our classrooms and walks through our halls is treated with respect and dignity,” said Beverly Ingle, President of the Colorado Education Association.

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