**MARCH 7, 2012 – CLANTONADVERTISER.COM
State Sen. Cam Ward has introduced a bill to toughen the state’s anti-bullying law. The Alex Moore Anti-Bullying Act is named after a Jemison 15-year-old who committed suicide last spring by leaping from an Interstate overpass. Family and friends of the teenager say she was constantly bullied at school. Sen. Ward drafted the legislation after meeting with Alex’s parents, Jim and Jill Moore, earlier this year. Major components of the bill would:
• Require the Department of Education to develop a statewide policy related to student harassment and post it on its website.
• Require teachers and other school employees who witness suspected harassment to report it to the school principal.
• Grant civil immunity to anyone who reported suspected harassment or bullying.
• Transfer students guilty to repeated harassment to other schools.
Sen. Ward believes it’s important to let schools handle things on a local level, but that one statewide policy would make things clearer for everyone. He wants there to be one policy across the state giving some guidelines “to help parents and students deal with bullying.” Jill Moore believes the law, if passed, would make a difference in schools. I agree with her.
An important part of the bill to Mrs. Moore is the requirement of school employees to report suspect harassment. She believes that if someone had reported it in Alex’s case, it could have made a big difference. The full text of Senate Bill 25 can be found online at the Alabama Legislative Information System Online website, alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/acas. Hopefully, the Legislature will pass this bill so that Gov. Bentley can sign it into law.
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