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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 15, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 15
OLYMPIA - Anti-bullying bill passes, governor will sign
Section One
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OLYMPIA - Anti-bullying bill passes, governor will sign

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

This year's new anti-bullying bill - HB 1163 - passed its final test in the state House of Representatives on April 13.

It will now go to the governor for her signature.

The bill's prime sponsor was openly Gay Rep. Marko Liias (D-21).

The bill builds on work Liias did in the last legislative session, expanding anti-bullying laws passed in 2002, 2007, 2009, and Liias' own 2010 bill.

The original 2002 bill required schools to adopt an anti-bullying policy covering all the protected classes in Washington's hate crimes law, including sexual orientation.

In 2007, the scope of the anti-bullying law was expanded to prohibit cyber-bullying by students.

In 2009, the definition of sexual orientation was amended to include gender identity and expression.

The bill Liias sponsored last year called for a new revision of the state's model anti-bullying policy, and designation of one individual in each school district to be the point person for implementing the policy.

Liias' latest bill does several things.

o It requires the state Education Ombudsman and the Superintendent of Public Instruction to set up an ongoing work group on bullying and harassment prevention.

o It requires the governing boards of the state's community and technical colleges to create and evaluate anti-bullying policies and procedures.

o It adds mental health and suicide prevention education to the essential learning requirements in health and fitness.

o It requires that all school districts make their anti-bullying policies and procedures public.

The bill first passed the state House on March 22, by a margin of 76 to 21.

In the Senate, it passed on April 4 by 41 votes to only six against.

Since the Senate amended the original bill, it had to return to the House, where the members agreed to the Senate amendment by a 73 to 23 margin on April 13.

The governor has indicated she will sign the bill.

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