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New bill would require schools to report the demographics of bullied students

Boy doing school work by himself in a classroom
Jeswin Thomas
Student doing school work

Out of all the bills Democrat Representative Sandra Hollins sponsored this legislative session, she said the School Safety Amendments Bill was special to her.

“Out of all of the bills that I have presented, this is the one that I have been the most nervous about because this is the one that has the issue that has pulled at my heart the most,” Hollins said.

HB0428 deals with bullying and harassment in schools. This bill would require the State Board of Education to provide training to staff members, and based on that training, local education agencies would have to come up with and adopt a plan. Reporting on this plan would include reporting on the demographics of the victim.

“We need to be able to know what's happening and know the story in order to implement plans in our school system to assure that all of our young people are safe within the school system,” Hollins said.

Some, like Elizabeth Garvey of United Way of Salt Lake, said this bill puts the proper emphasis on the bullying victim.

“We don't want to create solutions around the people who are doing the harm,” Garvey said. “We also want to make sure that we're incorporating the voice and experience of those who are being harmed in the solutions.”

But others like Utah citizen Jenny Earl feel this bill does not do enough.

“When you talk about harassment and discrimination, we're talking about severe pervasive and offensive behaviors,” Earl said. “Surveys do not determine that. You have to do a deeper dive if you have bullying or discriminating practices going on.”

The bill is currently on the House third reading calendar.

Emma Feuz is a senior at Utah State University majoring in broadcast journalism with minors in sociology and political science. She grew up in Evanston, Wyoming where, just like Utah State, the sagebrush also grows. Emma found her love of writing at an early age and slowly discovered her interest in all things audio and visual throughout her years in school. She is excited to put those passions to use at UPR. When school isn't taking up her time, Emma loves longboarding, cheering on the Denver Broncos, and cleaning the sink at Angies.