FAQs on New Colorado Anti-bullying Law
UPDATE AUGUST 2011–The Colorado Department of Education provides answers to the most frequently asked questions about HB1254, the new Colorado law that requires all state school districts to adopt anti-bullying policies that are inclusive of all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Link here to the FAQ from the Dept. of Education and the read on about how Inside Out Youth Services played a key role in advocating for the bill.
Governor Hickenlooper signed a statewide anti-bullying bill Friday afternoon at Lakewood High School. The bill will create a school bullying prevention grant program, as well as require districts to adopt strict policies against bullying.
“A group of men threatened to sexually assault me so I wouldn’t be gay anymore, and I was even asked to change in a separate locker room from the other girls, so I wouldn’t be looking at them,” said Jess Stolhman, a Cheyenne Mountain High School graduate. Stolhman shared her emotional testimony with both the House and the Senate Friday. She’s credited with having changed the mind of some Colorado’s representatives.
“This is the first time that I’ve really, really felt like there was policy change in Colorado, and locally that I really impacted,” said Stolhman.
Stolhman now works as an activist for youth in Colorado Springs. She says knowing the bill also specifically protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender young people helps in her healing process.
Governor Hickenlooper says the bill also works to expand the legal definition of bullying to now include all electronic forms of harassment.
“I was a student who was bullied for five or six years of my life. What we’re doing is really pushing to make sure that schools don’t tolerate bullies, at any level, anywhere in the state,” Governor Hickenlooper said.
Hickenlooper says he also hopes the bill will make bullying less of a distraction from the classroom.
“If you’re worried about getting beat up on the way home, you’re not going to learn what you are supposed to learn that afternoon,” Hickenlooper said.
We also asked Colorado school districts how they believe this will help in terms of enforcement.
Cherry Creek School District says it’s important parents realize their role in stopping bullying. A spokeswoman for the district says she hopes the bill will increase awareness for not only students, but parents as well.
(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)