House Public Education Committee hears cyberbullying bill
Date Posted: 4/18/2017 | Author: Mark Wiggins
The House Public Education Committee met Tuesday to consider and vote on several bills, including a high-profile bill aimed to reduce cyberbullying. HB 306 by state Rep. Ina Minjarez (D-San Antonio) would crack down on bullying and cyberbullying. The bill defines “cyberbullying” as “bullying that is done through the use of electronic communication, including through the use of a cellular or other type of telephone, a computer, a pager, a camera, electronic mail, instant messaging, text messaging, a social media application, Internet website, or other Internet-based communication tool.” Cyberbullying may occur outside of a school or school-sponsored event if it interferes with a student’s educational opportunities or substantially disrupts the orderly operation of a classroom, school or school activity.The bill would further require districts to provide for anonymous reporting of bullying behavior. HB 306 would allow for a student to removed or expelled if they encourage a minor to commit suicide, incite violence through group bullying or threaten to release intimate visual material of a minor. The bill would require schools to report bullying to police, and would hold parents liable for damages and legal fees if their child engages in bullying another child. The bill would create a new Class A misdemeanor criminal offense for “inducing suicide or attempted suicide of a minor by nonphysical bullying.” Last session, ATPE successfully advocated for HB 2186, which required suicide prevention training for school staff. Suicide is the second highest cause of death for high school-aged children, and it is often prompted by bullying. Several parents of children who committed suicide after being bullied offered emotional testimony in support of HB 306. ATPE also testified in support of the bill. Before adjourning, Chairman Dan Huberty (R-Houston) led the committee in advancing several bills. Chairman Huberty indicated the committee would vote on additional bills in a formal meeting Thursday upon adjournment of the House. The committee approved the following bills Tuesday:
- HB 61, which would include metrics regarding the academic performance of students formerly receiving special education services on the list of performance indicators utilized by the “A through F” public school accountability system.
- HB 156, which would establish a pilot program in a certain South Texas high schools for placement of students in Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) programs as an alternative to placement in disciplinary or juvenile justice alternative education programs.
- HB 209, which would require every high school to make voter registration applications available to students and employees.
- HB 441, which would ban schools from providing student instruction on Memorial Day.
- HB 1057, which would add pre-AP and pre-IB participation to the performance indicators under the “A through F” system, along with the percentage of student who have received credit by examination, the percentage of students who have been promoted over their grade level and the percentage who received a diploma in three years or less.
- HB 1114, which would reduce the number of service days required of teachers in a district that anticipates providing less than 180 days of instruction, while preserving the teacher’s salary. Rep. King voted no.
- HB 1174, which would add the percentage of students who have successfully completed on “OnRamps” dual enrollment course to the list of performance indicators under the “A through F” accountability system.
- HB 1336, which would require school districts to include in their annual financial management reports the costs associated with administering assessments required by state law.
- HB 1500, which would add the percentage of students who earn an associate degree to the list of performance indicators under “A through F.”
- HB 1540, which would add the importance of quickly selecting a major or field of study into the list of post-secondary education information required to be provided to high school students.
- HB 1583, which would extend epinephrine auto-injector regulations, privileges, grant eligibility and immunity from liability to private schools.
- HB 1638, which would order TEA and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to develop statewide goals for dual credit programs, along with a program to evaluate them.
- HB 2614, which would waive the requirement that school districts administer a free nationally norm-referenced preliminary college preparation assessment instrument to students entering high school and students in the 10th grade.
- HB 2623, which would require schools to create a personalized transition program for students returning after missing 30 instructional days or more because of placement in a juvenile center or hospital care.
- HB 3145, which would require each district’s board of trustees to adopt a school recess policy with a minimum number of minutes.
- HB 3318, which would require a district of innovation (DOI) to post its innovation plan online and maintain it in public view on the district’s website.
- HB 3369, which would require additional training and supports for special education teachers and district personnel responsible for determining eligibility for special education programs.
- HB 3381, which would order the governor to designate a Texas Military Heroes Day in public schools.
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