Wednesday, 18 April 2007 01:00
Bully Bill StallsWritten by WGCU Newsroom
A Cape Coral woman’s effort to get Florida lawmakers to enact an anti-bullying law has stalled in the state senate – for the second year in a row. Debbie Johnston’s quest to enact the law began after her 15 year old son Jeff committed suicide two years ago after being bullied. It would prohibit bullying and harassment of students and school employees during school activities, on school buses and over school computer networks.
Speaking from Tallahassee - where she’s been lobbying lawmakers - Johnston said the state has failed her son – and other victims of bullying she’s come to know since his death.
“I know I’m going to go back and face all these kids who’ve put their heart and soul into this and can’t understand why the people that represent them, why the government doesn’t care if they’re hurt. And I know the words I’m going to hear – it’s not fair, it’s just not fair.”
The anti-bullying bill made it through the state house and through several senate committees, all on unanimous votes – before getting hung up in the appropriations committee. Johnston says she doesn’t understand Appropriations Chair Stephen Wise’s rational for sidelining the bill – because she says the cost of administering it would be minimal. Wise is the sole vote against the bill.
Johnston says she’ll return to Tallahassee next week for one last shot at moving the bill forward to the full Senate for a vote.