from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Gabe Valenzuela
(512) 463-0121
September 6, 2005

Senator Zaffirini Promotes No-Bullying Policy

(AUSTIN) - According to the National Association of School Psychologists more than 160,000 students of the nation's 53.8 million in kindergarten through 12th grade skip classes every day because they fear bullies. A study by the National Threat Assessment Center of the U.S. Secret Service found that in more than two-thirds of 37 school shootings, the attackers felt "persecuted, bullied, threatened, attacked or injured."

In other words, the victims became the perpetrators as the bullied became bullies. As the sponsor of the state's new anti-bullying law, Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, urges parents and teachers to participate meaningfully in National No Bully Week, Sept. 12-16, and thereafter.

"Bullying is a growing problem in our schools," said Senator Zaffirini, a former educator with 13 years of teaching experience and a member of the Senate Education Committee. "Many students say they have been bullied by other students, which can be a deterrent to their educational success."

To help enable schools to combat and prevent bullying, Rep. Ruben Hope, R-Conroe, and Senator Zaffirini passed House Bill 283, the Texas Bullying Prevention Act. Effective Sept. 1 the TBPA requires school districts to revise their discipline management programs to include elements to prevent bullying, harassment and abuse at school, school events and in school vehicles.

"Research indicates that children who have been bullied are more likely to suffer from depression and low self-esteem, and bullies may be future criminals," Senator Zaffirini said. "This new law will create a safer learning environment for students while safeguarding local control by giving school districts discretion and flexibility while complying with its requirements."

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