TULSA - A piece of legislation aimed at preventing bullying in schools was killed on the house floor Monday.
House Bill 1461 would have added cyber bullying to the state's anti-bullying laws and would have required public schools to have a bullying policy.
In March the House passed the bill with a 74-23 vote.
The bill was then sent back to change some writing and Monday the House killed the bill with a 52-44 vote. Representative Jeannie McDaniel of Tulsa co-authored the bill and said she was shocked when the House did not approve it.
"I was optimistic we could shine more light on the subject of what kids face each day and perhaps give administrators tools they could use to help address the issues on school campuses." said McDaniel.
Representative Pam Peterson of Tulsa voted down the bill, saying it was overkill.
"It was more than defining cyber bullying it was putting a mandate on our schools to require them to do training and reports and even report back to legislators." explained Peterson.
She feels procedure should be left up to individual school districts.
Monday night the Tulsa school board approved implementation of a new bullying policy that Tenna Whitsel, TPS Director of School Counseling similar said is similar to HB 1461.
Whitsel said all students and staff will undergo some form of bullying prevention training; students, staff, and parents will also be mandated to report any bullying they see. A report form will be available on the district website by August.
A spokesperson for Broken Arrow schools said the District has a bullying plan in place but is in the process of implementing a new program aimed at addressing the issue as a community.
"The program is really about completely changing the culture of both the district and the community, rather than just addressing the issue. It won't be another set of rules and punishments, it will be a change in the culture." explained BPS spokesperson Tara Thompson.
Representative McDaniel said she is not giving up on the bill.
"This is a real problem it's escalating and leading kids to drop out of school." said McDaniel.
She plans to meet with school administrators and come up with a plan everyone can agree on.
However, due to house rules, the bill cannot be brought back up for two years.
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