(Host) Governor Jim Douglas signed a bill into law Tuesday that requires all schools to develop comprehensive procedures and policies to prevent bullying. The law calls on all schools to promptly investigate cases of bullying and to implement intervention strategies.
John Halligan, whose son Ryan took his own life last year after being bullied at school on a regular basis, was a major force behind the passage of the bill. Halligan attended the bill signing ceremony at the Statehouse and said the law was just the beginning of raising awareness about this issue:
(Halligan) “No Vermont child should ever again be driven to self inflicted harm and even death to cope with the self doubt and pain caused by bullying. No child in Vermont should ever again have to tolerate this behavior in school from either a peer or a teacher. The signing of this bill today gives my family hope that, in memory of Ryan, another young person’s life will have been saved from this kind of pain. Thank you, thank you governor very much.”
(Host) The governor says the bill is an important step in raising awareness about this issue:
(Douglas) “It’s all our hope with the enactment of this law, H629, that it will make a difference; that awareness will be raised among the people of our state, among our schools, our parents, our communities and that the tragedy that the Halligan family suffered will not be repeated in another family’s experience in our state. So I’m pleased to sign the bill into law.”
(Host) The legislation also calls on all schools to review their policies on student behavior to insure that the issue of bullying is clearly addressed.