Last week Gov. Gregoire signed Rep. Marko Liias’ bill to help prevent school bullying and youth suicide. The new law creates a group to look at ways for schools to prevent harassment.
“When I talk with students, parents and community members, it is clear that we need to take another step to engage more partners in tackling school bullying,” said Liias, D-Edmonds. “Bullying is a difficult problem, but it’s an area where hard work and creative thinking could save many kids from a really difficult time in their lives.”
The measure creates a workgroup led by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Office of Education Ombudsman to evaluate bullying issues through 2016. It will work with community members to develop prevention actions and produce a biennial report for the Legislature.
Youth suicide is also addressed in the new law. Mental health and suicide prevention will now be included in expected student knowledge standards around the state. Pilot programs will also be developed to implement suicide prevention efforts.