November 26, 2014

Bullying debate to return to Missouri House

The Missouri General Assembly will again consider legislation to require the state’s schools to add discrimination to their bullying policies. A disagreement remains over one detail: whether to require policies to be enumerated, or to list factors for discrimination such as sexual orientation.

Representatives Sue Allen (R-Town and Country) and Genise Montecillo (D-St. Louis) Photos courtesy: Missouri House Communications.

Representative Sue Allen (R-Town and Country) will again introduce the bill she has carried in recent years that does not include enumeration. She says it is not needed, and creates the possibility that some students will not be protected.

“Every student is equally precious and no one student should have any greater level of protection than any other student.”

Allen’s bill was passed out of a Senate Committee last year.

See current state statute regarding bullying policies.

Democrat Sara Lampe of Springfield has in recent years carried a bill that includes enumeration, but she has been term-limited out of office. No Democrats have filed a bill but Representative Genise Montecillo (D-St. Louis) says one of them will, and it will include enumeration.

“I think it’s critical to enumerate it. Just my experience to say that we don’t need to outline, particularly when it comes to sexual orientation, gender issues, those kinds of things, because I saw it when I was teaching. I saw teachers that would make comments about students that were gay and such.”

Lampe’s bills in the 2011 and 2012 sessions did not pass out of committee.