Protect Our Children: Do Not Pass Senate Bill 500
On March 5th, 2013, my beautiful daughter Angel took her own life after being repeatedly bullied by classmates both in person on school grounds and over the internet. The pain of losing a child is indescribable -- she was the light of my life and I still can’t comprehend life without her. The only way I can move forward now is to dedicate myself to making sure that this never happens to another family. I have worked diligently to get anti-bullying legislation passed in my home state of Indiana, and when House Bill 1423 (The Anti-Bullying Bill) was passed in 2013, I was hopeful that we had made a turn for the better. The bill stated that disciplinary actions would be taken against bullies and that any and all bullying related incidences would be investigated and reported. But now a new bill could completely dismantle all of the progress made to stop bullying in Indiana. Senate Bill 500, which is currently in committee and set to be voted on in this legislative session, would remove the school’s ability to address bullying that takes place off school grounds that could impair the victims school environment. This means that cyberbullying, one of the most popular and insidious forms of bullying our kids deal with today -- the form of bullying my daughter Angel experienced -- would no longer be considered a form of bullying by schools. The bill also eliminates all disciplinary actions toward bullies as well as programs for victim support, and would eliminate teacher training on suicide, bullying prevention, and mental health awareness. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people ages 15-34 in Indiana. According to the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, administered bi-annually by the Centers for Disease Control, Indiana ranks third worst in the nation in terms of incidences of bullying at school and cyberbullying. The idea that a bill could remove what are obviously desperately needed programs to prevent bullying in our schools is incomprehensible. Schools should be safe places where our children learn and grow into the unique individuals they are meant to be, not the places that convince them their lives are not worth living. 4,400 teens nationwide take their lives every year due to the hateful words and cruel actions of others. Please sign our petition to keep the kids of Indiana safe in school and at home. In her suicide note, Angel asked for us to get her justice, and I will never stop trying to fulfill her final wish. Losing one Angel was too many lost. No child should ever feel victimized by another to a point of suicide. Lets give these kids hope for a future. Please sign today. Thank you and God Bless.