Bill strengthening bullying reporting rules passes in Utah House

SALT LAKE CITY — House Bill 428, which would require schools throughout Utah to collect additional data on bullying, passed the state House of Representatives on a vote of 65-9 early Tuesday afternoon.

Rep. Sandra Hollins (D-Salt Lake City), who sponsored the bill, cited the suicide of 10-year-old Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor during a committee hearing to discuss the bill on Friday.

“We have a problem with racism in our schools,” Rep. Hollins said. “And we cannot lose another life as a result.”

The bill specifically calls for schools to include data on bullied students’ race, gender, age, and disability status. It also calls for local education agencies to adopt harassment- and discrimination-free learning plans.

Tichenor’s shocking death triggered an outpouring of anger about youth suicides, racism in the classroom, and the treatment of children with autism — issues that have been highlighted by the nation’s racial reckoning and a renewed emphasis on student mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We need to be able to know what is happening and know the story to be able to implement plans in our school system,” Hollins said.

The bill will now head to the state Senate.

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