Michigan lawmakers are considering a bill meant to crack down on cyber-bullying. A state Senate panel unanimously approved the measure today.
Right now, students who bully others through the Internet or on electronic devices are not covered under the state’s anti-bullying laws. The bill would also require schools to report all bullying incidents to the state.
“It becomes difficult to deal with those types of issues, especially when there’s not an educational element and an acknowledgement, even, that cyberbullying is a problem," said state Sen. Glenn Anderson (D-Westland). So I think this takes a major step forward with addressing that shortcoming in the law.”
Kevin Epling is with the group Bully Police USA. His son Matt took his own life in 2002 after being harassed by classmates. Epling says Michigan is behind other states in recognizing all forms of bullying.
“Nobody knew what cyberbullying was when we tried to explain it to people in 2005," Epling said. "And now it’s like, how do you put the genie back in the bottle? Well, you can’t. It’s gone. So now what we have to do is we have to do the best prevention models that we can to really educate the kids about what they’re doing.”
The bill now goes to the full state Senate.