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Local Officials and Victims Push Anti-Bullying Bill

Assemblyman Mike Eng, who represents San Marino and other local cities, joined fellow bullying victims and officials Thursday to encourage passage of a new bill requiring schools to specifically address bullying.

Local officials, parents and bullying victims urged Governor Jerry Brown to sign anti-bullying legislation at a press conference held at Garvey Middle School Thursday morning.

To see video of a local student speaking out Thursday about being bullied and helping to initiate the bill, click here.

“It is estimated that approximately 160,000 students in the United States skip school each day in order to avoid bullying, said , D-Monterey Park, in a prepared statement. “ Not only does this epidemic adversely affect the performance and well-being of our students, it also hurts our school districts fiscally in the form of revenue losses that result from absences."

Eng authored the bill, which is sponsored by the California State PTA. Governor Brown has until Oct. 9 to sign the bill, according to Eng.

The bill, AB 1156, would:

  • Clarify the existing definition of bullying
  • Require school officials to undergo training to prevent bullying
  • Make it easier for a student who has been the target of bullying to transfer to another school district.

Eng told Patch about his own experience being bullied and sophomore Tabitha Bowles spoke about getting so severely bullied—to the point of a concussion—at the San Gabriel Unified School District when she was 11 years old that she transferred to the and has undergone years of therapy.

Bowles, who has since started an anti-bullying organization called Kids Speak Up, said she and her parents approached Eng about drawing up a bill.

See Patch's Q&A with Bowles about her bullying experience here.

Eng said he had low self esteem, didn’t want to go to school and got bad grades as a result of physical bullying he experienced that started in 7th grade and continued for three or four years afterward. In one instance, Eng was trapped in a school locker by bullies.

To this day it causes me severe claustrophobic episodes, so it does last many, many decades later,” Eng told Patch.

The bill would have little fiscal impact, said Eng, since he hopes most of the cost would come from schools' existing public safety budgets.

"There may be a thought that school districts can't afford implementing this," said Garvey Elementary School District Board Clerk Bob Bruesch. "We’re here to say to the governor that school districts can't afford not having this legislation passed."

Noah Inchausti September 30, 2011 at 05:55 AM
Just saw a piece on Kcal 9 about this girl that was bullied and as a result of it they are now pushing for a law that will allow victims to transfer easier, teaches about bulling and all that other feel good crap. I heard nothing about what happened to the asshole that cause all this in the first place. The problem with these people in power is they do nothing about the bully. Removing the victim is all good and well, but an example needs to be made of these sick fucks that think it's okay to bring harm to another human being because of whatever stupid crap justification they can think of. Helping the victim and punishing the bully need to go hand in hand. I'm sick of the bully getting a free pass all the time
Kids October 11, 2011 at 04:35 PM
You are so right the bully got a day suspension that is it. After relentless throwing of rocks during a class one finally hit her on the head. No medical attention was provided. Only one call was made to the mother; to the hospital with a head concussion. The bully's mother stated "I have bigger fish to fry" and could not be bothered. Criminal charges were made and later a restraining order was awarded to protect Tabitha from additional threats from the boy's family. the restraining order was never honored. Later, Tabitha was given detention for being late to classes due to hiding in the bathroom to avoid the bullies. Tabitha and her sister were out of school for a month and a half until the San Marino District took them. For 3 years San Gabriel School board member Lee Freeman blocked her transfer to a safer school. Then hired attorneys with taxpayer's money and teamed up with the bully's attorney to stop any recovery for medical expenses. It makes you wonder who was the biggest bully and perhaps it all makes sense, bullies protect other bullies One parent asked to be out of the district because of bullying at the High School and only after the mother divulged that in one of the classes there were not enough chairs nor desks for the kids to sit. Kids had been expected to sit on the floor or remain standing against the back wall of the classroom for an entire semester. What are we left to think about the people that we elected to safeguard our children.

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