Bully Prevention Act passes House

TULSA - Bullying is a growing problem nationwide and here in green country.

Since our primetime special late last year, a lot has happened to try and put an end to this troubling issue.

It's an issue that has greatly impacted Claire Collins life.

She spends a lot of time working with Tulsa County kids of all different backgrounds. She is preparing them for a national poetry competition.

"A lot of kids who are part of the Louder Than a Bomb are also rappers. There is pop culture and hip hop culture that is part of it and that ties into the poetry," Collins said.

For Claire, it's an artistic release but also a way for her to come to terms with some of her tougher times. As a kid, Claire says she suffered extreme bullying.

"Bullying started for me in the fourth grade. There was a group of girls that made fun of me because I didn't come from money. We shopped at thrift stores and they made fun of my thrift store clothes," Collins said.

The bullying continued through middle school. It eventually forced her to drop out of high school.

"It was a since of alienation -- of what's wrong with me. Why me? What is so wrong with me that you would single me out."

Claire got her GED and moved on to college.

Stories like Claire's are leading to change.

New legislation has been proposed that will increase rules on cyber bullying, create a policy for reporting, investigating and responding to bullying and enhance the role of safe school committee's.

Julie Summers is part of the Tulsa Anti-Bullying Collaboration, and she says this bill is part of a larger picture that includes making schools safer for all students.

"The unfortunate shooting in Connecticut have heightened people's awareness about school violence. So what I think is happening in our schools and with our kids is on a lot of people minds and bullying is one aspect of what people are thinking about when they think of school safety," Summers said.

Claire is also watching what happens with the legislation. She says you just can't imagine how difficult school can be when you are consistently tormented.

She says it's time for law and attitudes to change.

Claire has her poetry, and she says kids need more outlets.

"We see kid who are younger and younger who are killing themselves and we see victims of bullying and for me louder than a bomb has given me a platform and a purpose to say I'm a survivor of bullying, because we see all the victims. To kids that are bullied that looks like the only answer. We need to see more survivors," Collins said.

The School Bullying Prevention Act passed a house committee and the next step if for it to be heard by the full House.

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