Anti-bullying advocates appeal to legislative panel

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WFAA

Posted on March 22, 2011 at 8:47 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 22 at 8:48 PM

Since the last legislative session, four Texas students have committed suicide after being bullied. Texas lawmakers are now considering one of the toughest anti-bullying laws in the country.

The Texas Senate Education Committee heard testimony Tuesday from the families of victims.

Among them were The Colony residents Jason and Debbie Lance. Their nine-year-old son Montana hanged himself at Stewart Creek Elementary School last year.

"We know that he's gone, and part of that is due to the bullying," Montana's father said. "We call it 'bullicide.'"

His loss gave his parents a new mission: Getting schools to stop the bullying before any more children are hurt.

"We have a bully law, but it's poor... it's a 'C' rating," Debbie Lance said.

It's an issue that shocks some parents — like the mother of one a boy who was caught on camera lifting another youngster up over his head and slamming him down on a concrete sidewalk at school.

"I was shocked that it was my son that had actually hurt somebody else like that," said Tina Gale. "I was just as shocked that my son could've been a paraplegic."

One bill filed by State Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) requires training for school officials to spot the signs of bullying.

"The public has been crying 'No more, no more,' and we need to push to get this done," Debbie Lance said.

News 8 is teaming up with Rachel's Challenge to help combat bullying. We'll be holding a special town hall meeting — "Beyond Bullying: Empowering Change" — on March 31 at Utley Middle School in Rockwall.

We invite you to come, discuss the challenges, and help formulate the best response. The town hall begins at 7 p.m.

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