North Carolina bill would require rules against bullies

RALEIGH -- A fight is brewing in the legislature over protecting schoolchildren from bullies.

Supporters of an anti-bullying proposal this week introduced a bill that would require school districts to adopt policies protecting students from violence and harassment.

The bill lists about a dozen characteristics that make students targets for bullies, including sexual orientation and "gender identity or expression."

A similar proposal got hung up last year on the issue of identifying gay students as potential bullying targets. The House passed a bill that included them, but the Senate balked after social conservatives who opposed the measure flooded their offices with phone calls and e-mail messages.

The bill's sponsors have introduced a list of supporters, including the state PTA, the state Pediatric Society and the N.C. Council of Churches.

Rep. Rick Glazier, a Fayetteville Democrat, said more people will push for the measure this year.

"There's been a change in the understanding of the country," Glazier said. "Every child is a child of God."

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