UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 8:54am
WACO -- Texas lawmakers have finally approved a bill requiring schools to improve anti-bullying prevention.
The new law would give schools the ability to do things like transfer bullies to different classrooms or campuses.
Now, many Central Texas parents are breathing a sigh of relief. Carmen Thompson welcomes the new anti-bullying legislation. She knows first hand since her 7-year-old niece that she cares for, Aaliyah, was targeted.
"They were saying mean things to her like you're ugly, I hate you, I don't like you, pushing, shoving, I'm going to kick you off the slide, taking her jacket and dragging it through the mud."
Thompson took it seriously, especially after she saw reports of kids committing suicide after intense bullying.
"You never know the consequences of what's going on. You never know what's going on in a child's mind, and to catch it early enough, you can prevent it," says Thompson.
In order to catch it early, lawmakers felt schools need to do more. One local youth group called Camp Fire agrees. Dozens of children were coming forward daily, crying out after being bullied. That's when Director of Camp Fire, Ashley Cripe, knew something more had to be done.
"It can't just be from education system. It has to be the entire group, the entire community," says Cripe.
Camp Fire will be implementing their new program aimed at bullying in schools and neighborhoods.
As for cases like Aaliyah's, Thompson says it takes both parents and the school.
"Ask questions. Keep asking questions. Follow up with teachers. Make sure teachers are aware of what you suspect might be happening," says Thompson.
The news law requires schools to document and investigate every potential instance of bullying. Now, it's up to Gov. Perry for final approval.