Montana Legislature

Jan 24, 2011 10:52 PM by KXLH

Montana legislators look at bullying issue

A Billings lawmaker wants every public school in Montana to adopt an anti-bullying policy.

Democratic Senator Kim Gillan is sponsoring the Montana Schools are for Education Act, or SAFE Act. It also requires the Office of Public Instruction to develop a model anti-harrassment policy. Then each district must adopt their own anti-bullying policy.

"It affects my work every single day. I can say that bullying is the root of most of the crimes that I deal with," Torey Keltner, Helena High School resource officer, said.

"This bill would be a weapon to be used against any kind of anti-homosexual dissent," Harris Himes with Montana Eagle Forum said.

Chanda Merkel is a Helena High freshman and has seen bullying first-hand.

"Every day I was called names, given rude gestures, tripped and pushed in the hallways and talked about," Merkel said.

Helena parent, Theresa Frei, wants it taken care of in some other way.

"I think I stand in agreement with everyone in this room, and none of us are in support of bullying. However, I do oppose this bill because I oppose the concentration of power in the Office of Public Instruction."

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