Lawmakers to consider bill initiated by students

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Associated Press

Posted on March 21, 2013 at 5:01 PM

RICHMOND, Ky. (AP) — Students, teachers and administrators at a central Kentucky school that initiated an anti-bullying bill under consideration by lawmakers are urging action in the last two days of the legislative session.

Democratic state Rep. Rita Smart of Richmond visited Madison Middle School earlier this year and told them that a bill proposing October be designated as Anti-Bullying Month in Kentucky would be considered. The bill passed the House 99-0 in January after students from the school traveled to the Capitol to testify before a committee, but hasn't yet been called before the Senate.

Madison Middle School teacher Brandi Smith told The Richmond Register (http://bit.ly/162vreY) that students are contacting senators and urging community members to do the same. She says that "students have not lost hope" that the bill will pass.

Assistant Principal Scott Anderson says everyone at the school has joined the effort to encourage the Senate to "take actions against bullying and join us in this fight."

When students visited the Capitol, they passed out ribbons of purple and yellow, which are the school's colors, and have been proposed as the official colors of the anti-bullying campaign. While there, they met with Smart and Republican Sen. Jared Carpenter of Berea.

"We understand that officially making October anti-bullying month and creating purple and yellow as the official colors will not stop bullying," Anderson said. "However, such an action would allow everyone to focus our ideas and provide for us a way to garner support, much like the color pink does for breast cancer awareness."

Seventh-grade student Bailee Vanover says bullying still goes on in the school, "but now that we have done all this, I think people are starting to get the point to stop and that we shouldn't do that anymore."

Bailee said she hopes other schools will be inspired by Madison Middle to take an anti-bullying pledge.

"I think students should not be afraid to come to school. I think they should come to school with no worries at all," she said. "School should be a safe place for learning and making new friends — not to be afraid."

If the bill doesn't pass, Anderson said it will be a learning experience for students — and it will continue.

He said students have expressed interest in developing an anti-bullying club and want to partner with Eastern Kentucky University students to develop ads and videos for the campaign.

"Maybe if more of us would join together and say 'stop bullying,' people will listen," Anderson said.

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Information from: Richmond Register, http://www.richmondregister.com

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