The House Education Committee voted down an anti-bullying bill Tuesday that identified classes of students who might be harassed by their peers.
The vote came after parents and friends of teenagers who killed themselves to end incessant school bullying told lawmakers about the need for stronger protections for all students.
Several lawmakers on the panel contended that existing anti-bullying laws are sufficient. Rep. Ben Waide, R-Madisonville, said House Bill 336 was an attempt “to achieve equality by making some people more equal than others.”
He said the measure was not about bullying, but “about gay rights in our schools.”
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, disagreed.
She said the bill provides protections based on a student’s actual or perceived race; religion; sexual orientation; gender identity; physical, mental, emotional, or learning disability; and other distinguishing characteristics, as recommended by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
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