Local lawmaker proposes anti-bullying task force - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Local lawmaker proposes anti-bullying task force

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SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) -

There's a new effort underway to combat bullying and it's coming in the form of a bill that Louisiana state lawmakers could soon consider down in Baton Rouge.

And it's the brainchild of a Shreveport state representative.

House Bill 758 was unveiled on Friday morning by State Representative Barbara Norton (D) of Shreveport. It would create the Louisiana Bullying Awareness and Treatment Task Force within the Department of Health and Hospitals.

Norton says the task force and its programs would serve both the bullied and the bullies statewide. "We want to make sure that we have a treatment process in place so that when they can get counseling and what other help that they may need that we'll be able to provide that for them."

Jackie Lansdale is president of Red River United, which represents teacher unions in both Caddo and Bossier Parishes. She offered her support for the bill during Norton's press conference.

Bullying is not isolated to the bullies and the bullied, but in some cases can quickly become everyone's problem, especially when it leads to violence, she says.

"Typically if you were going to draw a profile of these school shooters those are, you can, one of the things that you can have a parallel in all of those is bullying. That these are children that felt that they weren't being heard."

Norton's proposed bill is just the latest effort locally to fight back against bullying.

Elm Grove Elementary School teacher Robin Webb is teaching her young students how to be part of the anti-bullying effort.

"The bullying has to stop with us," she told her students during a class KSLA observed one day last week.

Webb helped create a club whose members call themselves "Upstanders." When prompted the entire class quoted their motto: "Be an Upstander not a bystander." These once-bullied students are now learning how to stand-up for themselves and others.

And just down the road, at Elm Grove Middle School, under state law all students are required to take courses to teach them correct social media etiquette. Eighth grader Shelby Newman told us during our visit that the courses have already had an impact.

"If I wouldn't stand on the football field in front of 200 people and say what I would type online then I shouldn't be typing it at all," Newman said.

Parkway High School also in Bossier City recently had their own anti-bullying awareness program aimed at curbing the problem.

As for House Bill 758, Norton has pre-filed the bill down in Baton Rouge, which would create the  task force. The regular legislative session starts on March 10.

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