Senate Democrats call for vote on cyber bullying bill

Nelson told the story of Rebecca Ann Sedwick, of Lakeland, Fla. The 12-year-old girl committed suicide this month after being bullied by 15 other girls for two years on social media websites.

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Nelson said the Senate should pass a bipartisan bill from Sens. Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), the Safe Schools Improvement Act, which would require schools to adopt no-tolerance bullying policies and to better report bullying incidents.

“Unfortunately, Congress is still crippled by gridlock and, for the last six years, has been unable to pass the major education bill that contains this anti-cyber bullying language,” Nelson said. “That’s why I would suggest that we consider this provision on its own — separate from the broader bill — to expedite our response to what is becoming an increasing problem affecting our youth.”

Casey said schools and parents should be doing more right now without federal legislation to prevent cyber bullying but said legislation was still needed.

“This is a big problem and the legislation that I’ve introduced may not have prevented this, but for sure, we need legislation where schools are, at a minimum, required to have a code of conduct that includes bullying and harassment language,” Casey said. “Any school that doesn’t have that in place should be ashamed of themselves.”

Casey’s bill would also require schools to report incidents of bullying to parents and the Department of Education, so more data can be gathered on the issue.