As a former prosecutor, I am very much aware of the problems that occur with all types of bullying. We all know that kids have been bullying each other for generations, but the latest generation has been able, with the help of technology, to expand their reach. The effects of cyber bullying seem to be more hurtful on adolescent self-esteem than the traditional physical bullying. It has been said that more than 40% of middle school children feel that violence is increasing in their schools, and they don’t feel safe.

One thing is for certain. We must protect our kids. And if a child is afraid to go to school because of fear of being victimized, then parents, teachers, law enforcement, and legislatures must step up to the plate and put a stop to it. A Florida law from 2013 requires each district school board to adopt a policy preventing bullying and harassment. The law expands the scope of harassment policies to include computer related bullying that happens outside the scope of the schools. It was signed into law May 2013. It doesn’t go far enough.

I intend to file a bill that will give teachers and school officials (i.e. staff, bus drivers, etc.) additional tools to notify the school principal and law enforcement of their suspicions of any child being a victim of bullying. It will then be up to law enforcement to properly investigate for possible prosecution.