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Florida HB 451: Bullying

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HB 451: Bullying

GENERAL BILL by Fitzenhagen ; Williams, A. ; (CO-INTRODUCERS) Campbell ; Clelland ; Pilon

Bullying; Provides that person who willfully, maliciously, & repeatedly harasses or cyberbullies another person commits offense of bullying; provides that person who willfully, maliciously, & repeatedly harasses or cyberbullies another person & makes credible threat to that person commits offense of aggravated bullying.

Effective Date: 10/1/2014
Last Action: 3/4/2014 House – Introduced -HJ 39
Location: In committee/council (CRJS)
Bill Text: PDF

 

HB 451 2014

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.
hb0451-00
Page 1 of 2
F L O R I D A  H O U S E  O F  R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S

1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to bullying; creating s. 784.049,
3 F.S.; defining terms; providing that a person who
4 willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly harasses or
5 cyberbullies another person commits the offense of
6 bullying; providing that a person who willfully,
7 maliciously, and repeatedly harasses or cyberbullies
8 another person and makes a credible threat to that
9 person commits the offense of aggravated bullying;
10 providing criminal penalties; providing an effective
11 date.
12

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Bullying Prevention According to the Law: What will be the role of adults who work with school children?

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Posted by Maria Mangicaro
Bullying Prevention Advocate
mangicaro829@aol.com

The controversial Pinellas School Bus Beating and the more recent Gibbs High School violent classroom fight among students highlights the issue of what role educators, school employees/volunteers and even bus drivers must take when they are witness to peer victimization and bullying. 

As Florida lawmakers consider Rebecca’s Law, which would criminalize bullying, individuals who work in schools must recognize the liability that might be placed on them. 

In 2012, a NJ school district settled a bullying lawsuit for $4.2 million. The suit against the school district alleged officials knew or should have known of his bully’s violent tendencies. The plaintiff also accused them of failing to comply with state anti-bullying laws. The plaintiff settled out of court for an undisclosed amount with the bully’s family.

While each state sets different statutes of limitations for different types of claims, many states impose a three-year statute of limitations for injury claims in general — but for children, the statute of limitations is extended until the child’s 18th birthday. So children really have until age 21 to pursue an injury claim.   Liability for bullying may have special considerations as a child who is bullied may have long-lasting repercussions that can follow into adulthood.

It will be extremely important to create a massive amount of public awareness of Rebecca’s Law and the intent of the law to prevent children from behaving like bullies, or face criminal charges and expensive lawsuits. 

Surprisingly, most Florida residents are not even aware of the fact Florida currently has an anti-bullying law and our schools have already taken initiative to put in place proactive bullying prevention programs. Under the law, they loose valuable funding if they are not in compliance. 

Under the new anti-bullying law, parents, guardians, teachers, educators, administrators, school volunteers and even school bus drivers must have a clear-cut definition and understanding of what their responsibilities will be to prevent children from behaving like bullies. 

According to Lawyers dot com, when bullying behavior is considered a crime, “teachers can be held criminally liable for turning a blind eye to bullying.”

Bullying litigation is an emerging area of law as “Parents of victims can hold bullies – as well as schools, teachers and staff – civilly liable for bullying as well. Civil law involves tort claims. Tort law holds individuals or institutions legally responsible for harmful wrongdoing. The wrongdoing can result in monetary damages paid to the victim, even if the bully or the school isn’t criminally charged. Parents can also bring lawsuits against schools if they violate their state’s anti-bullying statutes.”

The public must be educated on what causes bullying behavior among children and what their legal responsibilities will be to prevent it.

Football Players Protect Special Needs Girl From Bullies

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Posted by Maria Mangicaro
Bullying Prevention Advocate
mangicaro829@aol.com

Published on Oct 29, 2012
Hats Off to Arizona’s Queen Creek High football team for its anti-bullying effort.
Players including the star quarterback have rallied behind Chy Johnson, a 16-year-old special needs student who was tormented by kids at school, reports 3TV News and azfamily.com.

The players now eat with her at lunch and watch her back.

Johnson’s daily life was far different before. She came home crying every day and the bullies “threw trash at me,” she said in the interview.

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Dr. Dan Olweus and the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program

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Posted by Maria Mangicaro
Bullying Prevention Advocate
mangicaro829@aol.com

OLWEUS was developed by Dr. Dan Olweus, a psychology professor from Norway, and based on his systematic research on bullying, which he has been carrying out since the early 1970s. After three teens died by suicide in Norway in what was thought to be a response to serious peer bullying. Dr. Olweus developed the first version of his program. For more about this program, keep reading. Read more here.