Georgia’s House of Representatives has approved tougher rules on school bullying.
It was approved 99-55 Tuesday as an amendment to another bill dealing with student behavior on school buses.
The measure comes after the suicides of two apparent bullying victims.
The proposal would broaden Georgia’s definition of bullying, require school staff to report suspected incidents, and instruct school boards not only to punish bullying but prevent it.
By August of next year, school districts would have to create a system for sending a bully to a different school from his or her victim, and the state Department of Education would have to create a model anti-bullying policy to post on its website.
The bill’s sponsor, Atlanta Republican Representative Mike Jacobs, has cited the suicide last year of an 11-year-old DeKalb County boy who was reportedly harassed by classmates calling him gay.
The parents of a 17-year-old autistic teenager are suing their northwest Georgia school district claiming their son killed himself because of bullying at his school.
Opponents argued that overzealous enforcement of the bill could unnecessarily punish some students.