A California lawmaker is putting bullying back in the spotlight, with a new plan to combat an old problem.
State Senator Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, wants to address all forms of bullying -- from cyberbullying to gay bashing -- with Senate Bill (SB) 231. He says our schools talk about zero tolerance but too often the bullying continues.
"Too often we see students targeted by some form of bullying. Intimidation and abuse have no place in our schools and should not be tolerated. We must ensure that all our students have a safe and respectful learning environment, free from bullying and peer abuse at school," Correa said.
Correa tells FOX 11 investigative producer Heidi Cuda that his bill's main objective is to establish the California Bullying and Peer Abuse Prevention Hotline.
Under SB 231, the Bullying Hotline, "will be staffed by trained professionals who will provide assistance to students and parents with conflict resolution, crisis intervention, suicide prevention and bullying prevention resources," according to his office.
He says for funding, he's hoping to tap into the billions generated by the Mental Health Services Act.
"Bullying is a serious problem and something we cannot afford to ignore. SB 231 will provide both students and parents with the necessary tools to address bullying head on and reduce the threat of more long-term, serious consequences that threaten the health and well-being of our students," he added.
--17% of students are bullied "sometimes or weekly"
--19% have bullied others
--Around 1.6 million children in grades 6 -10 are bullied at least once a week and another 1.7 million are perpetrating bullying upon others
--Electronic communication, such as text messaging and social media, has led to a proliferation of "cyber-bullying," which impacts nearly 20% of teenagers and has potentially disastrous outcomes
On Thursday, FOX 11 takes a look at gay bullying, namely how one teen was physically abused and repeatedly called gay. He says despite his pleas to school officials, nothing was done. And he says, the gay bullying escalated.