Special to the Register
A bill that would designate each October as Anti-Bullying Month in Kentucky passed the House State Government Committee on Thursday.
House Bill 35, sponsored by Rep. Rita Smart, D-Richmond, would also designate a purple-and-yellow ribbon as the state’s official symbol for anti-bullying awareness.
The bill cleared the committee by a 28-0 vote and will go to the full House for consideration.
Smart presented the bill before the committee alongside Madison Middle School students and their Assistant Principal Scott Anderson, who first approached Smart about the legislation. “As a former teacher, I have used this as a learning experience for them,” Smart said of working with the students on her bill. One of the students, seventh-grader Bailee Vanover, told the committee “One of our top priorities is to ensure that students feel safe in school.” She added, “One of the biggest steps we can take is to tell an adult and take a stand against it, like we are doing today.”
The school rewards students for their efforts to prevent and stop bullying among the student body, Vanover said.
Anderson said the movement at Madison Middle School was begun by the school's students, who wanted their school colors of purple and yellow to be the official colors of a statewide anti-bullying campaign. Purple ribbons are often used to commemorate victims of domestic violence, while yellow ribbons often commemorate bullying victims who have committed suicide, said Anderson.
HB 35 was placed on the House “consent calendar,” or a list of bills that are presumed to pass without any opposition. The bill would be sent to the Senate for consideration upon its passage in the House.