Locals speak out in support of anti-cyberbully bill

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - A bill that would add cyber bullying to the law that prohibits bullying in schools just passed the House.

It was written in response to a 10-year old by who committed suicide after being bullied online. The Jamari Terrell Williams Act would allow any bullying that goes on outside of school to have consequences at the court house.

WZDX News spoke with people in Huntsville who believe this is a step in the right direction for lawmakers because they're doing something about student safety.

Under Alabama law harassment is a Class C misdemeanor on school property. The proposed bill would expand that to off school property and online.

"I think it does sound like a good idea because there's only so much the school can do," said Danyca Herring, picking her sister up from high school. "When I was in school even when kids would present evidence they would say, 'oh it happened off school like not in school, we can't do anything.'"

Legislation already requires schools to have plans and programs that encourage students to report harassment. But stopping the harassers in their tracks is what student Braeden Davis says could keep people from considering suicide or hurting others.

"If you're starting to prosecute teens who are openly knowing that they think they can get away with cyber bullying other teens, I think that's a good idea," Davis said.

"The bullying report form is directly connected to each homepage of each school site," explained Keith Ward with Huntsville City Schools.

Huntsville City Schools are ahead of the proposed legislation in terms of reporting bullying and that includes bullying online.

"Level three can result in a suspension," Ward said. "And a level four can result in a recommendation for expulsion."

Although some people said off camera they're unsure a word change in a law will have an effect, others like Herring believe any move to stop a school shooter is important.

"People will just say stuff online, it'll just push people to do it," she said.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

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