The largest public school systems in North Carolina have taken or are in the process of taking the steps necessary to comply with the new School Violence Prevention Act, an anti-bullying bill passed by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Bev Perdue this summer. The law takes effect Dec. 31, 2009, with comprehensive anti-bullying training set to begin by March 2010.

Some systems, including Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) and Guilford County Schools (GCS), approved inclusive and comprehensive anti-bullying policies long before the SVPA’s adoption. CMS passed their new anti-bullying policy in March 2008. GCS passed theirs in June 2008.

Updated policies in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools were adopted on Aug. 11. Three board members, Buddy Collins, Jane Goins and Jeannie Metcalf, voted against the inclusive, state-mandated changes.

The Wake County Public School System amended their anti-bullying policies on Nov. 17.

Durham Public Schools media relations coordinator Michael Yarbrough said the board’s Support Services Committee passed updates to their policy on Dec. 9.

“The new policy … will be presented to the full Board of Education on Dec. 17 for a first reading with recommendation to waive second reading since this does need to be approved by the end of the calendar year.” Yarbrough said.

All new policies across the state will include sexual orientation and gender-identity, along with a host of other characteristics. Bullying and harassing behavior based upon both real or perceived characteristics are prohibited.

State Sen. Julia Boseman (D-New Hanover) and Rep. Rick Glazier (D-Cumberland) had been the lead proponents of the bill in the state legislature. Equality North Carolina and a coalition of parent, youth and education groups supported the measure. It passed by a narrow, one-vote margin in the House before it was signed by Perdue in July.

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

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