Bill Requiring Bullies & Parents Get Counseling - Debated

posted by Bill Burr, WCIV -

Bringing bullies and their parents together is the goal of a bill being debated at the Statehouse in Columbia.

State Representative Samuel Rivers (R – District 15) of Berkeley County is the main sponsor of the bill.

It calls for any parent or guardian of a student accused of bullying to attend counseling offered or approved by the school district. Without it, the student would be suspended.

"This right here is a picture of her and her brother. And then there's a picture of her in first grade," said Dawn Kaser as she held two frames with photographs of her young son and daughter.

Kaser is a proud parent, but she's also a concerned mother after her 8-year-old daughter's recent ordeal at A.C. Corcoran Elementary School in North Charleston.

"She was hit. She was spit on. She was even sexually harassed," she explained.

Kaiser says for a year and a half, Sarafrances was bullied. While things are much better since transferring schools, there are lingering effects.

"She still has anxiety issues from it. She's still scared," she said.

That's why she supports House Bill 4702. The Bullying Prohibition Act would require parents or guardians of bullies to attend at least two counseling sessions with their children. Also, the school district would be required to inform another school system where the child seeks enrollment of that student's misconduct and failure to comply.

"I think once parents are held responsible for what their children are doing and for their actions, then maybe the parents will start handling situations at home and not expecting school officials and school administrators and teachers to handle it," Kaser said.

The plan is getting support from other North Charleston parents.

"I think that being held accountable and also being informed of what your children do when they're not around you is a good idea," said Dena Bailey, a mother who lives in North Charleston.

It’s a proposal to prevent bullying cases like those endured by Sarafrances and other children.

"I truly hope. I pray that it passes because I can't imagine children going through what my daughter is going through without the support," Kaser said.

State Representative Lin Bennett (R – District 114), who serves Charleston and Dorchester counties, is one of the co-sponsors of the bill. It’s being debated in a House committee on Education and Public Works.

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