State Capitol News
3:09 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Group Lobbies to Kill a Bill that Would Crack Down on School Bullying

A state senator is blaming a Christian family values lobbying group for killing legislation designed to strengthen laws that require schools to crack down on bullying.

State law already requires schools to adopt policies to deal with bullying. But Senate Minority Leader David Schapira said there are gaps. His legislation tightened the definition of what constitutes bullying and added some new requirements, including one for training to identify and deal with it. That got the attention of Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, who successfully lobbied to kill the measure after it was approved by the Senate. Herrod declined to be interviewed. But in her Internet newsletter she called bullying legislation, quote, theme driven propaganda. She said gay rights groups want to use the training requirement to get access to students. Schapira acknowledged that one group he wants protected is students who are bullied because of their sexual orientation. But he said that does not make the whole measure suspect and blasted Herrod for using her group's influence at the Capitol to bury the entire measure.

Herrod, in a prepared statement, said she opposes bullying but believes the current laws are sufficient, with this legislation about, quote, opening up our schools to activist organizations to promote their agenda to children.