Arlington Delegate Wants to Criminalize Bullying

By Peter DePaolis

School bullying a crime? It will be according to a bill introduced by Arlington/Alexandria Delegate, Adam Ebbin. The bill proposes to make extreme cases of bullying a class-one misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison, and a $2500 fine. In addition, bullying victims would be able to sue their bullies. Ebbin’s proposed legislation requires that physical injuries from bullying be reported to the commonwealth’s attorney.

Another bill proposed by Arlington/Alexandria/Fairfax Delegate, David Englin, would require schools to report bullying episodes to superintendents and put procedures in place to separate bullies and victims. Furthermore, bullying training for teachers would be mandatory.

The nation’s capital is also taking legislative action to curb bullying in public schools. Last December, two bills were introduced that would require DC public schools to adopt anti-bullying and harassment policies. Nine witness representing the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender (LGBT) community showed up to show support for the DC legislation. The two bills will likely become one bill before receiving a vote.

All this comes in the wake of Tyler Clementi’s death, the Rutgers student who killed himself after a bullying episode. His death sparked a national awareness of bullying on gay and transgender youth.

If you know someone who is bullying victim, a Northern Virginia personal injury lawyer can help you. Contact Julie H. Heiden, a Virginia personal injury attorney at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.