Proposed bill would allow bullied Florida students to transfer schools

NAPLES, Fla. A new proposed Florida law is pulling parents in different directions on how to address bullying.

Florida House Bill 1, dubbed as the Hope Scholarship Program, proposed by State Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Naples, would allow public school students to receive voucher-like scholarships to attend private schools if they have been bullied, harassed or subject to violence, according to the News Service of Florida.

Naples resident Keith Tebbe believes the consequence hits the wrong student.

“If anything I would take the one that’s bullying and move them into a different program or something like that, as opposed to my kid that’s being bullied who did nothing wrong,” Tebbe said.

MORE: Bullying has a cost to society you may not even see

Others see the bill as a good solution.

“They might find a whole new set of friends where it’s actually a better fit for them,” Naples resident Suzanne Harris said.

Stephanie Lucarelli, Vice Chair of Collier County School Board, says the bill makes assumptions that are just not true.

“I think that this bill makes a huge assumption that children that are bullied want to leave their home school,” Lucarelli said. “It also makes the huge assumption that there is no bullying at other schools.”

The bill would let a student leave their school 15 days after the reported day of bullying, all funded through a tax credit program on the purchases of new or used cars.

Car buyers would be able to designate $20 to go to non-profit organizations that would administer the scholarship program, according to the News Service of Florida. In return, car buyers would get a $20 credit on the taxes they would otherwise pay on the purchases.

MORE: Parents could face fine, jail under anti-bullying law in N.Y.

The last action from lawmakers on this bill was Nov. 8.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.  

Reporter:Hannah Vogel
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