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Bullying Victims Scholarship Passes Florida House

March 5th, 2018 by Jake Stofan

Bullied public school students will be able to get a scholarship funded by taxpayer dollars to transfer to a private school under legislation approved 71-41 by the Florida House Monday.

50,000 public school students experience bullying each year in Florida. For some it might be a single incident, but for others the problem can be chronic.

 

“When there are children who are in real need, who are in dire straights, when they’re not getting the resolution that they are looking for from the public school system we still have an obligation to help those children,” said bill sponsor Representative Bryron Donalds.

Democrats say the bill doesn’t do anything to address the bully.

 

“In this instance the bully just moves on to another victim. So he bullies someone or she bullies someone. That victim is then moved to another school. That bully stays; bullies another kid. It’s a never ending pattern,” said Representative Jared Moskowitz.

If the bullied student chooses to stay in the public school, both the student and the bully will receive counseling services.

The move to include counseling helped bring some Democrats to vote yes.

“It doesn’t go as far as I’d like it to, but I’m going to stand with you,” said Representative Sherivn Jones.

The scholarships would be funded by the sales tax on automobile purchases, if the buyer agrees.

Sponsors estimate $40 million will be generated. It’s money education advocates say should go to public schools.

 

“We’re going to send students who are bullied to a private institution that we have no guarantee that it’s a safe place because private institutions have to report zero incidents,” said President of the Florida Education Association, Joanne McCall.

The issue is so important to House leadership the language is included in serval bills in hopes one will clear the senate.

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