Legislation seeking to establish a statewide definition for bullying in schools has passed the state House.
The bill would require school boards to adopt rules prohibiting bullying and include procedures for investigating and responding to reports.
Susan Guess is a founder of the Guess Anti-Bullying Foundation. Her daughter Morgan testified in support of the measure in the House earlier this week. Susan says having one set definition of bullying will help cut down on the number of incidents gone unresolved.
“And when people are using different definitions when they’re reporting it, they’re using a different standard by which they determine whether it’s bullying or not," said Guess. "And Kentucky is only one of two states that doesn’t have a formal definition of bullying and so I think it’s certainly past time that we have one.”
The bill now heads to the Senate where Sen. Danny Carroll (R-Paducah) is a co-sponsor.
He says the bill doesn’t change any criminal statutes but does go towards creating consistency, which would help state officials better track bullying incidents.
“Just to be consistent, because every school district may have a different variation of what bullying means and for us to be able to accurately track statistics," said Carroll. "I think it’s crucial that everyone be tracking those off the very same definition.”
Carroll says he doesn’t forsee any major pushback in the Senate.
The House passed the measure 94-1 with Rep. Lynn Bechler being the sole dissenter.