Mr. Dennis Lahiff worked with his 2014-15 Law & Society class do some independent research on the subject of bullying. The class was surprised to see that whilelaws existed requiring schools to adopt anti-bullying programs, there were apparently no legal consequences outside of the schools for the bullyhim/herself. The class had to do research papers and with Mr. Lahiff's assistance, drafted a bullying law, taking some of the principles in the assault, menacing laws and harassment laws on the books and crafted a new law specifically directed at bullying in school, cyber bullying, andbullying in the workplace. Rep. Timothy Dukes passed the student's work along to legislative counsel, who re-drafted the legislation. Rep. Dukes has agreed to introduce the revised bill in the Legislature. If you look at the draft of his bill, you will note in the synopsis that the legislation originated with the law class at St. Thomas More Academy.
The Law & Society class suggested a Class B misdemeanor or at the least, an unclassified misdemeanor (11 Del. Code secs. 4202, 4203, 4204, 4206). If adopted, the law would also allow the juvenile court to have some additional "teeth" for the bully in schools. Bullying is a scourge not only in the schools, but also online (cyber bullying) and in the workplace. STMA students believe the act of bullying should be criminalized and the bully deserves a penalty, even if it is not a major penalty. School children who have been bullied suffer emotional and sometimes physical damage which needs to be addressed beyond the school discipline level. Cyber bullying and workplace bullying is no different. Yes, the act of bullying might be said to be included in harassment, assault or menacing statutes, but the message needs to be clearly sent to bullies that this type of conduct is specifically prohibited and there are consequences for their actions.
Their hard work has paid off as the "bullying bill" was just released and will be going to committee. It is House Bill 386.