Killeen ISD parents welcome new anti-bullying legislation - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |


Killeen ISD parents welcome new anti-bullying legislation

by Matt Johnson

KILLEEN - More than two dozen anti-bullying bills were introduced by the state legislature last week that aim to protect children from violence in schools.

The state's involvement is good news for Sarrie Fisher, a parent of a 15-year-old boy who she says was bullied repeatedly on his Killeen ISD campus.

"They'd push him, they would holler at him, they would call him names," said Fisher. "They called him gay before. Just basically laugh at him and call him a snitch."

It's how she says the other kids treated her son after he defended a friend.

"He was scared, he would get all sweaty, he would get depressed, he just didn't want to go anymore," said Fisher.

She says she was told by Audie Murphy Middle School that it was "just boys being boys." After that, she claims she had no choice but to move her child to a middle school at Lampasas ISD, even it meant only seeing him on the weekends.

"If I have to sacrifice not raising my child a little bit so he can grow up healthier and not be bullied, yes, I'll do it," said Fisher.

There were approximately 300 reported cases of bullying last year at KISD, according to district officials. However, parents say what's most troubling is how many more incidents likely fell through the cracks.

"Sometimes these incidents go unreported and then the kids come home and there's still isn't the follow up that's necessary," said Jan Rainwater, Director of Guidance Services.

Rainwater says she is monitoring the proposed anti-bullying legislation and is open to implementing new policies as the state sees fit.

House Bill 224 says a better state definition of bullying would help schools report bullying more efficiently. It would require school districts to report whether race, religion, or gender were the cause of cases of bullying. In addition, districts like KISD would also have to provide the state with detailed annual reports of incidents of bullying that would allow state government more opportunity for district supervision.

Currently, KISD only reports incidents of bullying to its central office.

Another piece of legislation is House Bill 2343, which addresses suicide prevention in Texas schools. It was filed yesterday in Austin and would bring the Department of State Health Services and the Texas Education Agency together to create a suicide prevention program statewide.

While some of the proposed bills would ask KISD to add to the anti-bullying program district officials say is already in place, Rainwater believes her staff spread across the district's 46 campuses are more than able to handle the challenges today.

"I have a hard time believing that folks at the schools do not want to help children, that's what we're here for."

As for Sarrie Fisher, she says she supports any legislation that will bring her closer to her son.

"I miss him though," said Fisher. "My husband is on his 6th deployment and we're a military family. It's hard but it's for the greater good."

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