The Florida Senate Rules Committee unanimously passed the Imagine Sheterria Elliot Act Monday. Also known as Senate Bill 626, the legislation was proposed by Senator Dwight Bullard (D-Miami).
According to a press release, the bill “broadens the authority of public K-12 schools to discipline students for cyber bullying activities.” Included are students using computers on school grounds, school buses or at school-related functions.
“Bullying has assumed a different form over the past (few) years,” said Sean Nixon, a representative for the Office of Sen. Bullard. “So this will be a great tool for administrators and teachers.”
Bullard proposed the bill when he was elected to the Senate in November 2012.
“This is a bill that he’s very passionate about,” Nixon said.
Nixon said Bullard is happy the bill is now being reviewed by the Senate. It is up for discussion and a vote at the end of the legislative session.
“I don’t know for sure if the bill will be passed,” Nixon said. “Teachers and administrators are now seeing that this is a concern. If it does pass, the bill will definitely provide the school districts with greater authority in addressing this type of situation.”
Curt Lavarello, executive director of the School Safety Advocacy Council, said the bill may not include enough provisions to properly address the cyber bullying issue.
“The most popular way young people communicate today is through the Internet,” Lavarello said. “In those cases where kids are picked on or assaulted or threatened, often times, the outcome is a violent outcome.”
Mike Llerena wrote this story online.