New Jersey lawmakers are pushing to strengthen the state's anti-bullying laws, in the wake of the suicide last month of 18-year-old Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, who took his own life after video of him having a sexual encounter with another man was put on the Internet.
The proposed "anti-bullying bill of rights" was a year in the making, reports Phil Gregory from WBGO. The measure, which has bipartisan support, would create a standardized way to identify and investigate bullying in schools and require periodic reports on bullying and harassment in schools.
One civilian supporter of the bill, Stella Serpa, 37, spoke about the need for stronger legislation Monday. She says she still gets emotional when remembering what it was like to be harassed at school for the way she looked.
"And it was hard," she said. "And the only thing that didn't bring me to the point of contemplating taking my life was because my biological mother told my brother and I we needed to get an education to be better than she."
New Jersey adopted an anti-bullying law in 2002, but sponsors say it doesn't go far enough. More details of the bill are available at the NJ Today site.