Bullying needs harsher laws


Story by Amanda Hackleman, Staff Writer

Bullying. For years students have been dealing with it. The torment. The harassment. The shame. To some it’s become just another part of their day. It doesn’t really seem as if anything is being done. However, in most states this is not the case.

Many states are now making harsher and harsher bullying laws to contend with the growing problem. This includes our own state of Texas.

The Texas Education Code provides the legal definition as any action taken against a student that does physical harm or implies possible injury. It goes on to say that public schools in Texas must prevent “bullying, harassment, and making hit list…”  The Texas Education Code continues by stating that parents may transfer their child to another school if it is proven they are a victim of bullying.

Although the law for bullying in schools is quite clear, there is no law in Texas prohibiting cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is defined as when a minor or group of minors torment and harass another minor on the Internet, especially via social media websites.

Texas legislatures have tried passing harsher bullying laws in the past. They have had little luck with this. Some have been pushing bills for years, including State Representative Garnet Coleman who has been trying to get a no-harassment-in-schools bill to pass since 2003.

Even with these laws, kids are still being bullied. This might be attributed to the fact that the punishment is not severe enough. Some even believe a federal law needs to be enacted to fight the giant problem that continues to grow. Many uncertainties about this have been circulating, stopping the passing of this type of bill.

Many people seem uncertain about whether or not bullying is an actual problem or rather something the media and over protective parents blow up beyond proportion. Some even say that passing anti bullying laws violates the first amendment.

This, however, cannot cloud lawmakers awareness of the impact bullying has on an impressionable generation like we’re living in today. Many teens are picked on for things out of their control like ethnicity, body type, or even the fact they need glasses to see. A federal law could put this mindless harassment to rest.

Many lawmakers say that the schools need harsher bullying laws to clamp down on the growing problem in our nation and even right here in our own state. According to some representatives, the laws need to change with the times.

With the world being more connected by the Internet, bullying rates have skyrocketed. Most teenagers have Facebook or Twitter among other social media applications. This can expose them to more opportunities for bullies to harass them.

Other states have said that Texas needs to hurry to get with the program and update the laws prohibiting bullying. Most experts say that bullying is destructive and dangerous and simply cannot be ignored.

Bullying will not simply stop on its own. It will take the state, or possibly even the federal government, passing much harsher laws on the bullies and providing more help for the victims. Victims of bullying have been proven to have higher stress levels, poor attendance and lower grades. If nothing is done the problem will continue to grow until it cannot be easily controlled. The sooner these harsher bills pass the better it will be for high school students across the nation and even here at Texas High.