Local Politics

Anti-bullying bill moves closer to passage

Posted June 22, 2009
Updated June 23, 2009

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— North Carolina's schools could soon be required to adopt polices that discourage bullying behavior.

House OKs bullying rules House OKs bullying rules

The state House approved Monday evening the School Violence Prevention Act that requires school districts to approve anti-bullying rules by the end of the year.

Sponsors of the bill say it helps children who are victims of bullies, like Natalie Sbraccia's 13-year-old daughter.

“She was fearful at the bus stop. She was afraid at any given moment that she was going to be attacked,” Sbraccia said.

Sbraccia gathered evidence of the threats and took them to administrators at the Granville County middle school her daughter attended, but she said no action was taken.

"Kids can't learn if they don't feel safe,” said Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake, who is co-sponsoring the bill.

The bill identifies a bully as a person who makes written, electronic or verbal threats on school property and school buses.

School districts would have to list characteristics, such as race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity, of a student who could be predisposed to bullying behavior.

Stein said not enough school districts enforce anti-bulling rules.

"Only 23 of the 100-plus school districts in North Carolina have a comprehensive policy that addresses a range of issues,” Stein said.

Under the bill, punishments for bullying would be left up to school districts. The bill would require educators to address the problem, Stein said.

"For you to be able to go to the school district and pull the policy up on the Web and show the administration, you are going to have a better hearing,” Stein said.

Sbraccia says the harassment against her daughter eventually stopped but not until the bully was taken out of school for a fight with another student.

The Senate has already passed the legislation. It needs one more pro House vote before it goes to Gov. Bev Perdue to sign into law.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • metricula Jun 26, 2009

    I see huge potential for abuse of this kind law--just like zero-tolerance drug and weapon policies. The almost sound good on paper but in reality they take away the rights and discretion of parents and educators--let alone punishing the children for having harmless Midol or caffeinated gum.

  • MakoII Jun 23, 2009

    I don't care what school policy is. School policy isn't LAW. If my kid is threatened and defends themself then I'll gladly sue the school that my kid has a right to defend when the school doesn't step up and do it.

    Yes, if you're not physically hurt by a bully, tell the teacher. But sometimes the only way out is to act decisively and nip the bad behavior in the bud.

    There's a difference between hitting someone out of malice and hitting someone in self defense.

    And EVERY instance where I defended my meager little self, it worked. The person stopped and never bothered me again. Too much trouble for them.

    And EVERY instance where I didn't, became a queue for continued abuse at their hands.

    We need to ENABLE children to handle these problems, and stop having them think Superman is around the corner.

    Otherwise we're creating Victims, not Citizens.

  • jockeyshiftspringer Jun 23, 2009

    "have to list characteristics, such as race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity..."

    How is this relevant? Was the NAACP, some gay rights organization and preachers sitting in there when this bill was written? A bully is a bully, no matter what color, sexual preference, or religion they have. Sounds like someone wants to build up ammunition for racial profiling.

  • SweetB Jun 23, 2009

    Help Protect ALL Children...no matter....

  • panthers254 Jun 23, 2009

    surething, you are right. violence doesnt work. we should always try reasoning with the bully first. appeal to his sense of fairness. of course, that didnt work for me, i tried to reason with the guy and he just hit me in the mouth again. oh well, teeth are overrated. if reasoning doesnt work, there is always bribery. if one gives up their lunch money every day, maybe the bully will leave them alone. well, if ya cant beat em, pay em off, right. surething, maybe you can give us some advice about how to deal with bullies. maybe you have some new ideas the rest of us havent heard about.

    please, share, and enlighten us.

  • doghousebrewery Jun 23, 2009

    This country is such a "Nanny State" now...it's a shame. You complain when parents dicipline their children with spankings and when the schools paddled students who mis-behaved...Now look where we're at. We got a "law" against bullies because parents aren't allowed ( or are too lazy to be) to be parents anymore. The diciplinarian role was thrust on the schools,, and then the one tool that worked (corpral punishment) was taken away. Now what are they suposed to do? Kind a a viscious circle don't you think? All the parents that complain about bullies should have taught their kids to stand up for themselves, but instead yo were too weak of a parent, and now you want laws legislated so that someone else can raise you child. You as a parent should have called parents of other kids that were the bullies. Those parents in turn should have seen to it that their kids ceased bullying. GROW UP AMERICA AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR KIDS AND YOURSELVES!

  • ncguy Jun 23, 2009

    We are not even allowed to treat terrorist but with laws protecting them.

    This country is getting weak!

  • Surething Jun 23, 2009

    Typical response from Katina and those who use violence to solve issues. That's right kids, just punch the other person in the face and that'll solve your problems! Gotta love how those who think they aren't treated equally teach their children to engage in acts of violence against others when someone says something you dont like.

  • MakoII Jun 23, 2009


    Unfortunately that very good advice (I got the same and it worked) won't work today. Today the school punished both of you and your kid is suspended or thrown out of school! The victim is punished.

    This legislation is toothless legislative-babble.

    "leave it up to the districts"? to what?

    They already are bound by law NOT to take away a kids recess. They can't punish them with any real means. And detention, after-school and suspension don't work unless their parents back it up at home. And it's problems at home that cause this behavior.

    You can't have a councilor, you just fired those as unnecessary cutting the budget.

    Everyone expect the teachers to handle it with zero resources, and allows the system to criminalize victims from acting with "zero tolerance" of violence.

    Until we adopt court-like measures to allow for self-defense, nothing will work.

  • ohmygosh Jun 23, 2009

    Just how are these protected class kids going to deal later in life with a bully boss, bully neighbors or even a spouse? There will be no school board to run to.

    There also needs to be a way to develop strategies these kids can use to deal with the bullies out there.