TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Legislature has passed a bill that would prohibit the bullying or harassment of any student or employee at the state’s public schools, including via computer technology or during activities on board a school bus.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Gov. Charlie Crist said that he likely will sign the bill.
The legislation is named the “Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up For All Students Act” for a Cape Coral student who committed suicide in 2005 after being bullied by a classmate.
The bill would require the state Department of Education (DOE) to develop a model anti-bullying and anti-harassment policy, to be provided to school districts by Oct. 1.
It would require all school districts within the state to adopt a similar policy by Dec. 1 and to involve students, parents, teachers, administrators and local law enforcement agencies in its development. The policy would have to include a procedure for reporting acts of bullying or harassment, and it would have to state the consequences for such acts.
“Safe schools funds” would be distributed to districts pending the DOE’s approval of their anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies and reporting procedures. Districts would receive the funds starting in the 2010-11 fiscal year.
Finally, on or before Jan. 1 of every year, the commissioner of education would have to provide a report to the governor, the president of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Representatives on the school districts’ progress in implementing their policies.