From the Desk of Senator Craig Johnson – September 17, 2010

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Johnson Announces Anti-Bullying Legislation

Legislation to help ensure that all students have a safe, harassment-free and discrimination-free environment to learn was signed into law this week, Senator Craig Johnson announced.

The “Dignity for all Students Act” is designed to provide all students with a safe and nurturing school environment conducive to learning by putting an end to harassment and discrimination based on, but not limited to, race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex.

“Intimidation and persecution are lessons that no child should have to learn in school,” Senator Johnson said. “As the father of three young children, I am proud to have helped sponsor this legislation to create strong statewide protections for all students.”

In order to foster a safer, more constructive school environment, the law:

Prohibits harassment or discrimination against students by employees or students while on school property or on school grounds;

Defines “harassment” as the creation of a hostile environment by conduct, verbal threats, intimidation, or abuse that has or would unreasonably interfere with educational performance, opportunities, benefits, or physical or emotional well-being, or cause fear for physical safety;

Prohibits discrimination based on an individual’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex.

Senator Johnson sees this victory as a great first step, but still believes strong legislation to address cyber-bullying or Internet-based bullying is necessary to truly make an impact in today’s technology driven world.

“We must continue to fight for a strong, comprehensive piece of legislation that will protect our children on the Internet,” said Senator Johnson, who in 2007 created a cyber-bullying education program for schools within his district. “The Internet has provided bullies an entirely new playground.”

 

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