Mullins announces bipartisan anti-bullying legislation
HARRISBURG, Nov. 19 – As part of his effort to combat bullying and its damaging effects, state Rep. Kyle Mullins, D-Lackawanna, today announced a bipartisan anti-bullying proposal. He was joined by state Rep. Torren Ecker, R-Adams/Cumberland, and state Rep. Brandon Markosek, D-Allegheny, who are co-sponsors of the legislation, along with state Sen. John Blake, who has authored companion legislation in the Senate.
“Lives are being ripped apart because of the severe, chronic and inescapable nature of what bullying has become in the age of social media,” Mullins said. “We are introducing this bill not just as lawmakers, but also as parents of children who are part of a generation who should not have to endure the nonstop cruelty of modern-day bullying.”
Under H.B. 2053 and its Senate companion, S.B. 564, the crime of chronic bullying would be clearly defined as “the intent to place an individual or group in fear of personal injury or property damage; or the intent to harass, annoy, or alarm an individual or group.” It would also provide for upgraded offenses.
“I am glad to join Representative Mullins in sponsoring companion bills to officially define the offense of bullying and to give law enforcement the tools needed to prosecute severe instances of bullying,” Blake said. “Modern day bullying is serious and, sadly, in some instances deadly. We need to do more to protect our children and all other vulnerable or abused citizens in the Commonwealth.”
“Bullying is the sad reality for too many people who feel its wrath at school, work and, now, at home. Bullies now have the ability to invade nearly every aspect of victims’ lives because of social media and electronic devices,” Ecker said. “This bill would give law enforcement an additional tool to counter this bullying. One sure way to fight bullying is to stand united against it.”
"As a person who battles with a speech disorder on a daily basis, I know first-hand what current students battling all different forms of bullying are dealing with," Markosek said. "Bullying in our schools should not be tolerated at any level, and I am glad to share my own personal history of being bullied to help strengthen our bullying laws in Pennsylvania."
Also participating in today's announcement was Mark Powell, Lackawanna County district attorney; and advocates from Be the Change, an anti-bullying group based in Hanover.