Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 106

03/16/2006 11:00 AM EDUCATION


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11:09:41 AM Start
11:09:54 AM HB482
11:58:45 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 228 PUPIL-TEACHER RATIO GRADES K-3 TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Postponed to 3/23/06>
*+ HB 482 SCHOOL:BULLYING/HARASSMENT/INTIMIDATION TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 482(EDU) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION                                                                            
                         March 16, 2006                                                                                         
                           11:09 a.m.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Mark Neuman, Chair                                                                                               
Representative Carl Gatto                                                                                                       
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Representative Bill Thomas                                                                                                      
Representative Les Gara                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Peggy Wilson                                                                                                     
Representative Woodie Salmon                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 482                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to harassment, intimidation, and bullying in                                                                   
schools."                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 482(EDU) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 482                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: SCHOOL:BULLYING/HARASSMENT/INTIMIDATION                                                                            
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) ANDERSON                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
02/13/06       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/13/06       (H)       EDU, HES, JUD                                                                                          
03/16/06       (H)       EDU AT 11:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
LENA HENSLEY, Student                                                                                                           
Galena Interior Learning Academy (GILA)                                                                                         
Kotzebue, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Spoke of her experiences at the academy.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DOROTHY WALKER, Student                                                                                                         
Galena Interior Learning Academy (GILA)                                                                                         
Holy Cross, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Spoke of her experiences at the academy.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SARAH REAGIN, Student                                                                                                           
Galena Interior Learning Academy (GILA)                                                                                         
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Spoke of her experiences at the academy.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CRYSTAL NOVOTNEY, Staff                                                                                                         
to Representative Andersen                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION   STATEMENT:      Presented   HB  482   on   behalf   of                                                               
Representative Anderson, sponsor.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SARA VITASKA, Policy Associate                                                                                                  
Education Program                                                                                                               
National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)                                                                                
Denver, Colorado                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in  support of HB 482 and provided                                                               
research information  on the effects  of bullying in  schools and                                                               
the various responses by states to address this.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
KATIE SINGLETON, Member                                                                                                         
Bye-Bye Bullies                                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 482.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
DENNIS MALONEY, President                                                                                                       
Bye-Bye Bullies                                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 482.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
TOM HARVEY, Executive Director                                                                                                  
National Education Association-Alaska (NEA-Alaska)                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 482.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  MARK   NEUMAN  called  the  House   Special  Committee  on                                                             
Education  meeting  to order  at  11:09:41  AM.   Representatives                                                             
Neuman  and   Thomas  were   present  at   the  call   to  order.                                                               
Representatives Gara, Gatto, and Lynn  arrived as the meeting was                                                               
in progress.  Representatives Salmon and Wilson were excused.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
11:09:54 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR NEUMAN announced that the  first order of business, [though                                                               
not  calendared  for today's  meeting],  would  be to  hear  from                                                               
students attending a  regional learning center in  Galena until a                                                               
quorum of committee members is present.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
11:10:13 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
LENA HENSLEY,  Student, Galena Interior Learning  Academy (GILA),                                                               
expressed her  belief that  the most important  thing in  life is                                                               
opportunity  and "to  excel, grow  and survive."   She  explained                                                               
that the reason  she attends a boarding school is  because of her                                                               
wish to  see more of  Alaska and to  learn about the  cultures in                                                               
this state.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR NEUMAN asked  if she was planning on  attending college and                                                               
whether her  experiences living in  a dormitory  environment will                                                               
be beneficial to her when she is in college.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. HENSLEY relayed  that she does plan on  attending college and                                                               
that  learning  to   be  on  her  own  in   the  boarding  school                                                               
environment, away from  home and familiar faces, has  been a good                                                               
experience for her.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
11:12:33 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DOROTHY  WALKER,   Student,  Galena  Interior   Learning  Academy                                                               
(GILA), explained that her sister  attended the school before her                                                               
and she  had the chance  to see how  well her sister  excelled in                                                               
the  program.   She said  she likes  her teachers  and the  well-                                                               
trained  dorm staff  and  opined that  there  is more  individual                                                               
attention given to students at  the boarding school than those in                                                               
other school systems.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
11:13:52 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SARAH REAGIN,  Student, Galena Interior Learning  Academy (GILA),                                                               
relayed that her  freshman year of home schooling set  her back a                                                               
year and upon  learning about GILA at a job  fair, she decided to                                                               
attend this vocationally-oriented school to  learn more about the                                                               
profession which interests her.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
HB 482-SCHOOL:BULLYING/HARASSMENT/INTIMIDATION                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
11:15:07 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR NEUMAN announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE   BILL   NO.  482,   "An   Act   relating  to   harassment,                                                               
intimidation, and bullying in schools."                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
11:16:4 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CRYSTAL NOVOTNEY, Staff to  Representative Andersen, Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, paraphrased the  following written sponsor statement                                                               
which read in part [original punctuation provided]:                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     House Bill  482 encourages  school districts,  city and                                                                    
     borough   offices   of   education,   law   enforcement                                                                    
     agencies,  and youth-serving  agencies  to develop  and                                                                    
     implement interagency strategies.  Some of the possible                                                                    
     programs may  include in-service training  programs and                                                                    
     other  activities  to  improve  school  attendance  and                                                                    
     reduce school  crime and violence.  HB 482  will reduce                                                                    
     vandalism,  drug and  alcohol  abuse, gang  membership,                                                                    
     gang    violence,   hate    crimes,   bullying,    teen                                                                    
     relationship  violence,  and   discrimination  and  all                                                                    
     harassment, including  sexual harassment, in  grades K-                                                                    
     12.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Recent   research  studies   suggest  bullying   has  a                                                                    
     negative effect  on the social environment  of schools.                                                                    
     Bullying  creates a  climate  of  fear among  students,                                                                    
     inhibits  their ability  to learn,  and leads  to other                                                                    
     anti-social behaviors.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. NOVOTNEY informed  the committee that there  are currently 21                                                               
states that  have anti-bullying  laws and  Sara Vitaska  from the                                                               
National  Conference of  State  Legislatures  would provide  more                                                               
detail  on this  in her  testimony.   Ms. Novotney  expressed her                                                               
belief that  students should have  the opportunity to learn  in a                                                               
safe, educational environment.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
11:17:40 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SARA  VITASKA,  Policy  Associate,  Education  Program,  National                                                               
Conference of State Legislatures  (NCSL), paraphrased her written                                                               
testimony which read in part:                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Representative Anderson's office  invited me to testify                                                                    
     before  you all  today.   His  office has  asked me  to                                                                    
     provide you  with a  general overview  of anti-bullying                                                                    
     legislation and a summary of  introduced bills from the                                                                    
     2005-2006  legislation session.   In  addition, I  will                                                                    
     touch on  a few  components of  anti-bullying policies,                                                                    
     including  defining  bullying,   state  level  support,                                                                    
     public   school   reporting  requirements,   individual                                                                    
     reporting  requirements  and   immunity,  and  training                                                                    
     opportunities for teachers and staff.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     A growing body of research  on the prevalence of school                                                                    
     bullying, the  likelihood of school bullies  to develop                                                                    
     anti-social  behavior, and  the impact  of bullying  on                                                                    
     its victims and the  school climate have heightened the                                                                    
     issue.   Anti-bullying legislation has  been motivated,                                                                    
     at least  in part,  by a surge  in school  violence and                                                                    
     tragic school  shootings at  several U.S.  high schools                                                                    
     in the  late 1990's.   In addition, a 2002  U.S. Secret                                                                    
     Service  report, entitled,  "Safe Schools  Initiative,"                                                                    
     found that bullying  played a major role  in several of                                                                    
     the shootings.  According  to research published in the                                                                    
     Journal   of   the    American   Medical   Association,                                                                  
     approximately  30 percent  of American  schoolchildren,                                                                    
     in  grades 6  through  10, have  been  bullied or  have                                                                    
     bullied  other  children   "sometimes"  or  more  often                                                                    
     within a semester.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     A  total  of  21   states  have  enacted  anti-bullying                                                                    
     legislation.    To  date,  at   least  24  states  have                                                                    
     introduced anti-bullying  legislation during  the 2005-                                                                    
     2006  legislative session.   Of  those  states, 16  are                                                                    
     considering  anti-bullying policies  and 6  are seeking                                                                    
     to amend their current  anti-bullying statutes.  During                                                                    
     the  2005  legislative  session, 4  states  -  Arizona,                                                                    
     Indiana, Maine,  and Tennessee -  enacted anti-bullying                                                                    
     policies  and  2  states  -  Arkansas  and  Virginia  -                                                                    
     amended  their existing  anti-bullying statutes.   This                                                                    
     analysis does  not include states that  have enacted or                                                                    
     are  introducing harassment  and intimidation  policies                                                                    
     that do  not specifically include bullying.   Maryland,                                                                    
     Mississippi, and Nevada have enacted such policies.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     There   are   several   components   of   anti-bullying                                                                    
     policies,  including:   prohibiting bullying;  defining                                                                    
     bullying;  state-level   support;  school  intervention                                                                    
     strategies; individual  reporting and  immunity; public                                                                    
     school  reporting; parental  rights; teacher  and staff                                                                    
     training;  prevention  task  forces and  programs;  and                                                                    
     integrated curriculum instruction.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     A  handful of  states  establish  requirements for  the                                                                    
     state board,  department of education,  or commissioner                                                                    
     of  education to  facilitate  anti-bullying efforts  in                                                                    
     the schools.  State  support in California, New Jersey,                                                                    
     Rhode  Island, Vermont,  Virginia,  and West  Virginia,                                                                    
     provides districts with model  policy to assist them in                                                                    
     approving  their   own  policies  and  programs.     In                                                                    
     Washington,  the superintendent  of public  instruction                                                                    
     has  sole authority  for  policy  development.   School                                                                    
     districts  in Washington  were  directed  to adopt  the                                                                    
     superintendent of public  instruction's model policy or                                                                    
     amend   an  existing   policy  to   be  considered   in                                                                    
     compliance.  In Arkansas,  the state board of education                                                                    
     must  review  every district's  anti-bullying  policies                                                                    
     and  may recommend  changes or  improvements.   And  in                                                                    
     Oklahoma,   the  state   department  of   education  is                                                                    
     mandated  to  disseminate  "a  list  of  research-based                                                                    
     prevention  programs" to  every  public  school in  the                                                                    
     state.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Some   states'   anti-bullying   legislation   contains                                                                    
     procedures for school districts  to report incidents of                                                                    
     bullying.  Colorado,  Connecticut, and Virginia require                                                                    
     incidents  of  bullying to  be  made  available to  the                                                                    
     general  public.   Illinois, Maine,  and Virginia  have                                                                    
     guidelines  in place  to  report  certain incidents  to                                                                    
     local  law enforcement  agencies  relating to  criminal                                                                    
     offenses committed  by students.   Similar  to Colorado                                                                    
     and  Connecticut, Vermont  requires schools  to collect                                                                    
     data on  the number  of reported incidents  of bullying                                                                    
     and make the data available  to the commissioner and to                                                                    
     the public.  In  addition, the commissioner must report                                                                    
     to  the senate  and  house committees  on education  on                                                                    
     implementation of the policy.   The report must include                                                                    
     pertinent data such as  incidences of bullying gathered                                                                    
     by school  districts.  In Washington,  each district is                                                                    
     required  to report  to  the  superintendent of  public                                                                    
     instruction  annually   all  bullying   incidents  that                                                                    
     result in a short  or long-term suspension or expulsion                                                                    
     on school  premises or  on transportation  systems used                                                                    
     by schools.   The superintendent must  compile the data                                                                    
     and report  to the appropriate committees  of the house                                                                    
     and senate.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS.  VITASKA  informed  the committee  that  some  states  either                                                               
require  teachers  and  staff to  report  suspected  bullying  or                                                               
encourage [them]  to do so.   There are several  states currently                                                               
amending existing  anti-bullying policies, she relayed,  and some                                                               
states,  such as  New Jersey,  with proposed  plans to  reimburse                                                               
school  districts  for  providing   teacher  training  on  [anti-                                                               
bullying  prevention].   In conclusion,  she highlighted  that 16                                                               
states, including  Alaska, have introduced legislation  [to adopt                                                               
an anti-bullying policy] for the 2005-2006 legislative sessions.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
11:23:22 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE THOMAS,  referring to  incidences of  teachers and                                                               
coaches  bullying students,  asked what  is to  be done  in these                                                               
cases.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. NOVATNEY  explained that parents, guardians,  other committee                                                               
members, teachers,  school officials, and anyone  associated with                                                               
schools or school events "fall  under this policy."  She provided                                                               
an example  of a parent bullying  a team coach and  said that the                                                               
parent would be held accountable as well.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  THOMAS questioned  what  could be  done in  cases                                                               
where coaches yell at students during games and at practice.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  questioned  whether  [addressing  bullying]                                                               
wasn't already the job of the schools.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. NOVATNEY  agreed that  this is  a job  the schools  should be                                                               
doing and seems to be common  sense.  She relayed that many times                                                               
schools "turn the other cheek" and  say that "kids will be kids."                                                               
She opined that  when kids are under school care  for six hours a                                                               
day,  someone  needs  to  step  in  to  let  kids  know  what  is                                                               
acceptable behavior  and what isn't.   Proper training  is needed                                                               
to help teachers deal with these situations, she said.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN expressed  his belief that so  much power has                                                               
been taken away from teachers  and the school administration that                                                               
they have become powerless in  dealing with even basic discipline                                                               
problems which  were common in  his generation.  He  relayed that                                                               
he  was  the subject  of  bullying  throughout elementary  school                                                               
which was  a "terrible  thing" but  said he  was not  certain how                                                               
legislation could  effectively solve  this.   He opined  that the                                                               
civil  authority exists  to deal  "with this  type of  thing" and                                                               
whereas  he is  opposed to  bullying, he  does not  see how  this                                                               
legislation will "fix" the problem of bullying.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
11:30:33 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR NEUMAN  expressed his concern  about the effects  of adding                                                               
more state  mandates on schools  and informed the  committee that                                                               
he would  like to  propose a conceptual  amendment to  change the                                                               
words "shall" to "may" on page 1, lines 6-7, which reads:                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     ...  each school  district shall  adopt  a policy  that                                                                    
     prohibits the harassment,  intimidation, or bullying of                                                                    
     any  student.   Each school  district shall  share this                                                                    
     policy ....                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN opined  that this  legislation adds  another                                                               
layer of  paperwork [for  schools] "that takes  away the  time of                                                               
teaching  basic subjects  ...  and  supervising student  behavior                                                               
which includes bullying."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  NEUMAN  interjected that  changing  the  words "shall"  to                                                               
"may" would  allow decision-making at  the local level as  to how                                                               
to address bullying.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN opined that it  already is at the local level                                                               
where teachers  fill out necessary  paperwork, turn it in  to the                                                               
principal,   who   then  in   turn   forwards   it  on   to   the                                                               
superintendent.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR NEUMAN  reminded the committee that  this legislation "says                                                               
that [school  districts] have to  do it"  and asked if  there was                                                               
any  objection   to  Conceptual  Amendment  1.     Hearing  none,                                                               
Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  asked if there are  any circumstances where                                                               
bullying is beneficial.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  NOVATNEY  relayed her  understanding  that  bullying is  not                                                               
beneficial, but she would research the possibility.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
11:32:47 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GATTO  compared   levels   of  "bullying"   from                                                               
kindergarten, where  one child might  take a crayon  from another                                                               
child, to high  school, where a coach is  verbally and physically                                                               
abusive to a student and asked, "Is that bullying?"                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS.  NOVATNEY  expressed  her  belief those  would  be  forms  of                                                               
bullying.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO questioned again  whether one child taking a                                                               
crayon from  another child would  indeed be  considered bullying.                                                               
He  suggested  that  some  form of  conflict  is  desirable  when                                                               
growing  up to  help individuals  tolerate society.   He  relayed                                                               
that  whereas he  doesn't mind  saying bullying  should be  dealt                                                               
with to some degree, he is not  in favor of saying, "... we can't                                                               
have  bullying, because  I  don't know  what  [the parameters  of                                                               
bullying are]."                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  NOVATNEY,  referring  to  the  crayon  example,  stated  her                                                               
agreement  that  the  incidence   could  be  viewed  as  students                                                               
learning a  life lesson  or possibly  viewed as  interfering with                                                               
learning.    She   opined  that  there  is  a   difference  in  a                                                               
kindergartner  swiping  a crayon  to  a  situation where  a  high                                                               
school student throws another student against a locker.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR NEUMAN referred to language  in the bill regarding those to                                                               
be  involved   in  creating   anti-bullying  policies,   page  1,                                                               
subsection (b), lines 9-11, which reads as follows:                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     The  policy  must be  adopted  through  a process  that                                                                    
     includes  representation   of  parents   or  guardians,                                                                    
     school      employees,       volunteers,      students,                                                                    
     administrators, and community representatives.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
11:35:44 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN referred to  his experience in basic training                                                               
in the military where a lot  of bullying occurred and where "they                                                               
tear you  down and build you  up."  He expressed  his belief that                                                               
this experience has  helped him deal with challenges  at work and                                                               
that "bullying is not necessarily bad."                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
11:37:10 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO,  in trying to envision  a contained, bully-                                                               
free environment,  asked if those leaving  this environment would                                                               
be better because of that experience.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  VITASKA highlighted  that  research  on prevention  programs                                                               
shows bullying incidences can be reduced by over 50 percent.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO said  he did  not argue  whether there  are                                                               
some  benefits  to  this.    He referred  to  his  experience  of                                                               
attending high  school with 6,000  other boys where  bullying was                                                               
"rampant" and  suggested that his  experience with this  may have                                                               
benefited him  professionally, "learning how to  succeed in spite                                                               
of what other  people wanted."  He questioned  whether this would                                                               
be  the  case  had  he   grown  up  in  a  relatively  bully-free                                                               
environment.  He  posed the question as to  whether the classroom                                                               
environment  wasn't designed  to  help  students become  smarter,                                                               
more socialized  and to  recognize that  bullying exists  - "[if]                                                               
you don't like it, then you learn how to avoid it."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
11:41:27 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
KATIE SINGLETON, Member, Bye-Bye Bullies, paraphrased the                                                                       
following written testimony which read [original punctuation                                                                    
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     I  would like  to strongly  disagree with  some of  the                                                                    
     testimony  regarding bullying.   Bullying  is bad.  The                                                                    
     experts agree  that nothing  good comes  from bullying.                                                                    
     30% of bullies actually grow up to be criminals.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Bullying  in schools  is  a  concern of  mine.   I  was                                                                    
     bullied in  second grade at  a private  Catholic school                                                                    
     in the  Midwest.  I  cried myself to sleep  every night                                                                    
     and dreaded going to school the next day.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     My oldest  child will be  starting school in  the fall.                                                                    
     He is small for his age  and I'm concerned that he will                                                                    
     have to endure the same trauma I did as a child.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     I am  happy to see  that our legislators  are concerned                                                                    
     enough about this issue to include it in their debate.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     We  NEED to  have  a requirement  for  schools to  take                                                                    
     responsibility  for the  safety  of  our children,  and                                                                    
     that   includes    policies   against    bullying   and                                                                    
     harassment.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     As  a member  of  the organization  Bye-Bye Bullies,  I                                                                    
     have  heard presentations  and read  papers by  many of                                                                    
     the nations bullying experts.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     The  bully  experts  seem  to  all  agree  that  school                                                                    
     surveys are the best place to start.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Teachers  don't know  where  the  problems are  because                                                                    
     children hide the bullying from them.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Schools  have  different problems,  different  physical                                                                    
     layouts and  other aspects that require  some questions                                                                    
     to  be included  or not  included on  a survey.   These                                                                    
     surveys  are  then  used to  determine  which  programs                                                                    
     might work best for a particular school.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Something that I  believe needs to be  included in this                                                                    
     bill  is  a  provision  for mandatory  surveys  of  all                                                                    
     students and staff.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     These surveys  should be done  prior to  finalizing any                                                                    
     specific program for a school.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Surveys  should  also   be  conducted  periodically  to                                                                    
     determine how the programs are working.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Previous  studies  show  an increase  in  bullying  the                                                                    
     first year   this  is due to  an increase  in awareness                                                                    
     and  then  reports  of bullying  decline  in  following                                                                    
     years.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     This is good legislation.  Schools need this guidance.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     This legislation is needed.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
11:44:45 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DENNIS  MALONEY, President,  Bye-Bye Bullies,  explained that  he                                                               
helped found  this organization and  is a practicing  attorney in                                                               
Anchorage  as  well.   He  highlighted  that the  first  national                                                               
conference on bullying was held  in Anchorage two years ago where                                                               
nine  experts spoke  on the  subject.   He  relayed that  surveys                                                               
taken  at the  middle schools  in the  Anchorage School  District                                                               
showed  that 10  percent  of the  students are  afraid  to go  to                                                               
school   every  day   because   of   possible  intimidation   and                                                               
harassment.   He opined  that this  results in  students "looking                                                               
over their  shoulders rather than  focusing on  their education."                                                               
He informed  the committee that  the bullying  programs presented                                                               
at  the conference  in Anchorage,  though varied  in methodology,                                                               
have resulted  in a reduction  in bullying incidences as  much as                                                               
50 percent the first couple years  of program operation and on to                                                               
a  75 percent  reduction for  following  years.   A reduction  in                                                               
property damages  in schools was  also noted,  he said.   He then                                                               
relayed the definition  of a bully provided at  the conference by                                                               
Dr.  Stuart Twemlow,  Medical Director  at the  Menninger Clinic,                                                               
which is  someone who repeatedly  uses force, either  physical or                                                               
non-physical, to shame,  humiliate or dominate a  victim and that                                                               
the  "shame and  humiliation"  is  what damages  the  ego of  the                                                               
person being bullied.  He  opined that an effective anti-bullying                                                               
program  will reduce  the cost  of  education, reduce  discipline                                                               
problems in  schools, and increase the  [self-worth] of students,                                                               
helping them become more productive members of society.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
11:47:59 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO,  referring to  Mr. Maloney's  profession as                                                               
an attorney,  asked whether passing  this legislation  would make                                                               
it easier for attorneys to sue successfully in court.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. MALONEY said  this is not accurate.  He  relayed that he does                                                               
not wish to  take any cases on bullying and  that those reporting                                                               
incidences of bullying are immune from suit.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO rephrased  his question  to ask  whether or                                                               
not it  would be easier  for an attorney to  sue if we  pass this                                                               
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.   MALONEY  said   "no."     In  response   to  questions   by                                                               
Representative  Lynn,  he explained  that  Bye-Bye  Bullies is  a                                                               
[Code] 501  (c)(3) [nonprofit corporation] with  over 150 Alaskan                                                               
members.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
11:51:15 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
TOM HARVEY,  Executive Director, National  Education Association-                                                               
Alaska (NEA-Alaska), opined that one  of the most important parts                                                               
of HB 482  is that it "provides a mechanism  by which the schools                                                               
can  produce  a  better  climate where  students  can  learn  and                                                               
teachers can teach."  He  informed the committee that his written                                                               
testimony includes a list of  available resources on the topic of                                                               
bullying, a  topic that NEA-Alaska  has been working on  for over                                                               
ten  years.   He said  that a  large population  of students  are                                                               
affected  by bullying  and they  don't [generally]  come forward.                                                               
He highlighted  that with No  Child Left Behind (NCLB)  there are                                                               
31  factors  used  in   measuring  a  school's  [accountability].                                                               
Attendance is one  of those factors, he said, and  it is affected                                                               
by the number of students who  stay home from school because they                                                               
are bullied  which in turn  can contribute to a  school's failing                                                               
under NCLB.   "This bill will  provide us with the  mechanism for                                                               
which  to  change  that,"  he   opined.    Additionally,  bullied                                                               
students aren't usually  in the frame of mind to  perform well on                                                               
tests which may  result in their "missing one of  the three areas                                                               
of  proficiency"  and  therefore  contribute  to  another  school                                                               
failing  to meet  NCLB accountability  requirements.   He  opined                                                               
that  it  was  important  for  people  to  review  the  available                                                               
resources  on  bullying and  not  allow  personal experiences  to                                                               
define what  the bullying act  is or is  not.  He  also suggested                                                               
that educators use  the available tools to  address bullying "if,                                                               
as Representative Lynn points out,  they're given the opportunity                                                               
to  use them,  versus  all the  barriers that  have  been put  on                                                               
educators in order to ... maintain a good school climate."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
11:54:03 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  asked  whether better  enforcement  by  the                                                               
administration  and  better  support  of  teachers  dealing  with                                                               
bullies  more   effectively  helps  reduce  bullying   and  other                                                               
behavioral problems.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARVEY  said there are  already policies in place  to address                                                               
this and that when uniform  standards are applied, the better the                                                               
school's performance.  However, he  noted that times have changed                                                               
and  some of  the  conflict resolution  techniques  are not  done                                                               
today.   He  opined that  [anti-bullying] programs  would provide                                                               
assistance in this regard.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  repeated  his question  on  whether  better                                                               
support  of the  administration of  the classroom  teachers would                                                               
help resolve the bullying issue and other disciplinary issues.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARVEY said that to some degree it would.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  referred  to  legislation  from  last  year                                                               
sponsored  by  Representative  Salmon   which,  he  said,  seemed                                                               
similar to this bill.  He asked  Mr. Harvey if he had any opinion                                                               
on the differences between the two.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARVEY  said that an analysis  had not yet been  done, but he                                                               
would provide one.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
11:56:11 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  NEUMAN determined  there was  no further  public testimony                                                               
nor committee discussion.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
11:56:31 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA moved to report  HB 482, [as amended], out of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal notes.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
11:56:39 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN objected.    He opined  that  though it's  a                                                               
well-intended  bill,  laws to  address  bullying  are already  in                                                               
place.   Furthermore, he said,  teachers are already  required to                                                               
fill  out  more "onerous  paperwork,"  and  less paperwork  could                                                               
allow them more time to deal with student misbehaviors.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA relayed  his  understanding of  the bill  is                                                               
that it  requires school districts  to adopt policies  to prevent                                                               
and remedy  bullying and asked  whether it required  any specific                                                               
paperwork.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  expressed his belief that  the bill requires                                                               
some paperwork.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO noted  that  the bill  has an  accompanying                                                               
fiscal note "so something has to be done."                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN maintained his objection.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
11:58:03 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
A  roll  call vote  was  taken.   Representatives  Thomas,  Gara,                                                               
Gatto, and  Neuman voted in favor  of HB 482, as  amended, out of                                                               
committee.   Representative  Lynn voted  against it.   Therefore,                                                               
CSHB 482(EDU) was reported out  of the House Special Committee on                                                               
Education by a vote of 4-1.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
11:58:45 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Special  Committee on  Education meeting  was adjourned  at 11:58                                                               
a.m.                                                                                                                            

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