LANSING — State Rep. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing) has introduced legislation, with the support of state Rep. Kara Hope (D-Holt), to add bullying prevention training and education to teaching certification requirements. According to the National Center for Education Statistics’ 2016 report, approximately one out of every five students reported being the experience of being bullied. The evolution of technology and social media has only exasperated the problem, with roughly 14.9 percent of high school students reporting experiencing cyberbullying in a 12 month period.
As a result, Michigan lawmakers have taken steps in recent years to tighten up the laws surrounding bullying, including expanding the definition of bullying and creating guidelines for districts to develop action plans to combat it. Under state law, districts are required to adopt and implement a policy to prohibit bullying but are not required to equip students or teachers with further tools to deal with the issue.
“This is an issue that not only impacts students across the state but right here in my own back yard,” said Anthony. “We need to make sure our teachers are equipped to combat bullying by using de-escalation techniques and other best practices and are able to support students with comprehensive counseling methods. I look forward to working with statewide and local stakeholders to develop a plan of action in the best interest of our students.”
An increasing number of students have reported bullying so severe it has impacted them in and out of school, including refusing to attend school, increasing depression rates and in some cases resulting in self-harm. Rep. Anthony’s legislation seeks to train teachers to recognize bullying and how to address it in the hopes of stopping tragedies that can often result from bullying before they occur. Anthony’s legislation would only allow superintendents of public schools to issue a teaching certificate to candidates if they have completed a minimum of one hour of bullying prevention training and education.
Sarah Anthony is serving her first term in the Michigan House of Representatives, representing the 68th House District, which includes Lansing and Lansing Township. Elected in 2018, Rep. Anthony is the first African American woman to represent Lansing at the state capitol. She serves on the Democratic leadership team as the Democratic Caucus Chair and is a member of the House Appropriations Committee. For additional information, visit her website.