UPDATED Thursday, March 21, 2013 --- 6:02 p.m.
By Barclay Pollak
Representative Garey Bies is trying to drum up support for his newest bill. His latest piece of legislation would fine educators $200 if they do not report incidents of bullying. Bies says this is not a Democrat or Republican issue but an issue about children and one that's getting bipartisan support.
" I think we should error for the child's safety and a safe environment and not really worry about the teacher's attitude towards it. "
Right now Bies says the bill, which was officially released just last night, is making its rounds as he looks for co-sponsorship. Some in the field of education are expressing concerns.
" We certainly want every instance of bullying reported appropriately but we also don't want over reporting. "
Don Johnson, the Superintendent of Middleton Cross Plains, says his district along with every other district across the state came up with a bullying policy back in 2010. The state's Department of Public Instruction or DPI made the plans mandatory.
Today in an e-mail a spokesperson told NBC15 News:
" The Department of Public Instruction has not seen any specifics or details of this bill that is not yet introduced but is currently being circulated for co-sponsorship." He went on to say, " As we do not have the language of the bill that may be introduced, it is impossible for the DPI to take a position at this time. However, from what we have seen in the initial news coverage, we have reservations about the bill."
It is important to remember this bill is only being circulated for co-sponsorship. According to Bies so far about six or seven other legislators may be interested in co-sponsoring the bill. Once this process is sorted out it will go to leadership and then be given to a committee.
Posted Thursday, March 21, 2013 --- 10:03 a.m.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Educators fear a bill that would fine teachers and staff who fail to report bullying could have unintended consequences.
Republican Rep. Garey Bies, of Sister Bay, is circulating the legislation that imposes a $200 fine for failing to report students who bully. Wisconsin Association of School Boards spokesman Dan Rossmiller says he fears the proposal could lead to teachers over-identifying student behavior as bullying because they don't want to risk being fined.
Bies tells the State Journal that parents say teachers aren't doing enough to stop bullying. State Department of Public Instruction policy defines bullying as "deliberate or intentional behavior using words or actions, intended to cause fear, intimidation or harm." It says bullying behavior can be physical, verbal, or indirect, such as spreading rumors, social exclusion, or cyber bullying.
Copyright 2013: Associated Press