Some details in anti-bullying bill explained - FOX 35 News Orlando

Some details in anti-bullying bill explained

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Florida State Senator David Simmons says his anti-bullying bill has been approved by the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, but it stills needs approval by two more committees to be heard on the Senate floor.  In his bill, he spells out the criteria of what makes bullying a criminal act.

"There is a certain level in which a society says I'm not gonna take it anymore and that's what this bill addresses, " said Sen. Simmons.

He says threats via the Internet are making it easier for people to target others. So now he's creating criteria, that defines the act of bullying.

"We've said the conduct must be malicious, willful, intentional, it must be contentious. It must be repeated."

The bill is similar to Florida's stalking law, but focuses more on harassment.

"When you reach that level, the kind of conduct that many of us are aware of, relating to certain types of bullying. That's the kind that crosses into the level, of not just someone taking advantage of someone else by inappropriate conduct, but actually acting criminally."

With this bill, it doesn't matter if you are young or old.  Anyone could be held accountable.

"This bill doesn't have a limitation on age and the reason is that this kind of conduct is abhorrent in any type of society," said attorney Matt Morgan.  "Unfortunately, we've seen a great increase in it after the Internet."

Last week, Morgan unveiled a petition to support an anti-bullying bill.  He is representing Tricia Norman, the mother of Rebecca Sedwick.  Sedwick is the 12-year-old Polk County girl who  Committed suicide because of alleged bullying.   Simmons says this bill will focus on everyone, not just Rebecca.

"We just call it the anti-bullying bill."

If convicted of the misdemeanor, a person could face 60 days in jail but will most likely undergo counseling for a first offense.

"No one's going to go to jail for that kind of conduct, unless it's the most disgusting that you can think of."



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