A scaled-down bill aimed at curbing bullying in public schools won approval Wednesday morning by the Louisiana House Education Committee.
The proposal, a substitute for House Bill 407, cleared the panel and next faces action in the full Louisiana House.
However, it excludes specific prohibitions against bullying motivated by sexual orientation, gender identity and other issues, which was in the earlier version sponsored by state Rep. Patricia Smith, D-Baton Rouge.
Smith said after the vote that she dropped the list because the proposal would not win committee approval with those bans in it.
She said her bill would also allow teachers and other employees to undergo training to detect bullying, which she said could pinpoint specific problem areas.
The measure is designed to strengthen Louisiana’s current anti-bullying law.
It would require school boards statewide to adopt policies that spell out bans on bullying, including cyberbullying.
Bullying is defined as fear-inducing, threatening or abusive gestures.
School employees would have to undergo four hours of training on how to prevent bullying, including suicide prevention.
Under the bill, school leaders would be required to conduct investigations of bullying allegations within one day of hearing about the incident.
The check would have to be finished within 10 school days of the written complaint.
Parents would be notified of the allegations.
The legislation also requires state school leaders to provide reports to lawmakers annually on the issue.
A similar bill was approved last week by the Senate Education Committee. It is awaiting a vote in the full state Senate.