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Anti-bullying bill resuscitated

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In a surprise twist, just as the halfway point of legislature is about to hit, Senate Bill 141, the Schools Are For Education act passed second reading in the Senate today with bi-partisan support.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau joked she may have to start calling Senate Bill 141 the "Zombie Bill." It has come a long way since it was first heard in the Senate Education Committee a month ago. In fact, just last week the Superintendent voiced her dismay the bill, which aims for all Montana school districts to have a clear anti-bullying policy, did not get passed out of committee. On Monday, sponsor Kim Gillan's motion to move the bill to the Senate floor narrowly failed. But the bill was taken from the table and an amended version was passed through committee and today through second reading in the Senate. Juneau says this proves nothing's over 'til it's over.

She says, "When they hear from the people who are on the ground and parents and students who are struggling with the bullying issue in their school, I think that's probably what really turned the tide, and it's about democracy and making sure that people have access to their representatives and senators, and making sure your voice is heard about what you want to see happen in the legislature."

Juneau says two major amendments helped its passage. One clarified liability for schools. Another struck a section which called for OPI to create a model policy.

Story by Ryan Whalen, Beartooth NBC.
Copyright ©2011 Beartooth Communications Company. All Rights Reserved.

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State Superintendent Denise Juneau

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