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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The quest to outlaw bullying

Massachusetts now has a law requiring teachers to tell their principals if a child has been bullied, and the principals will be required to investigate. The law was prompted by a few cases where bullied kids killed themselves, including 15-year-old Phoebe Prince. (Another child, Carl Walker-Hoover, was only 11 when he committed suicide.)

We started to see laws like this a few years ago, but they were inspired more by school shootings, where the bullied kid would shoot people that he viewed as his tormentors. Kansas passed a law in 2007, and Missouri has not, according to Bully Police USA, a site that tracks this kind of legislation.

At Time magazine, one of their bloggers questions whether these laws do much good. In the Prince case, the alleged bullies are now facing criminal charges using laws that were already in place.

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