HB 116, a bill designed to tighten Ohio schools’ anti-bullying policies, passed 31-1 on Jan. 18.
It is known as the Jessica Logan Act in memory of a student from the Cincinnati area who committed suicide in 2008 after a nude photo of her circulated through her high school.
Proposed by Sen. Joe Schiavoni, a Democrat from Canfield, HB 116 is not exactly what he originally intended. Not included in the final bill were provisions that would allow school officials to suspend students even if illicit behavior took place off school grounds. Lawmakers thought this would be problematic to enforce.
The bill does, however, redefine harassment to include “any intentional written, verbal, electronic, or physical act that a student has exhibited toward another particular student more than once and the behavior both causes mental or physical harm to the other student and is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for the other student.”
HB 116 brings parents into involvement as well. Parents, school employees, school volunteers, students and community members are to be consulted with and educated on harassment and cyber-bullying.
The policy includes a requirement that the custodial parent or guardian of any student involved in a prohibited incident be notified and have access to any written reports pertaining to the prohibited incident.
While Republicans and Democrats have both given overwhelming support for the Jessica Logan Act, it still awaits Gov.John Kasich’s signature.
“Since it is a bill on such an issue as harassment and bullying, I see both the House and the Senate working together regardless of political faction,” said a spokesman for Senator Troy Balderson, a Republican from Zanesville. “With bills dealing with public safety, there is no partisan issue. Everyone cares for it. Everyone is going to make sure that it’s protected, and that legislation is secure on supporting it.”Share