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This Florida proposal would pay for bullied students to transfer schools


Studies show one in four students will be bullied at some point in their life. The state of Florida is now taking action by pushing a proposal that would allow victims of bullying to move to private schools.

In bullying cases that have gone to court, school districts are often criticized for not doing enough to keep those victimized by bullying safe.

The Palm Beach County School District is preparing for what type of fiscal impact a state program would have that would allow bullied kids to change schools.

Melanie, who does not want her face to be shown to protect her daughter, says her daughter was bullied in middle school by another girl at a Palm Beach County public school. “Talking badly about her, threatening her through other children,” Melanie said. At one point, Melanie said the bullying became violent and her daughter’s bully threw an object, hitting her in the head.

The most recent data shows the Palm Beach County School District reported 207 incidents of bullying.

“The way this works in the school system is it is designed to protect the bully, not the victim.”

But now children bullied in public schools could get state-backed scholarships to go to a private school of their choice, starting next year. Proposed legislation would let a student leave their school 15 days after the reported day of bullying if their parents opt to remove them. The scholarships would be funded through a tax credit program.

Melanie feels the legislation would move the wrong student.

“The school thing sound great, but in the end, you’re inconveniencing a child, who’s inconvenienced every day, when she’s bullied. The person that needs to be moved and the person that needs to be inconvenienced is the predator, the bully.”

Bullying is incredibly hard to prove, as more and more parents are choosing to take school districts to court for not protecting their kids.

The National School Board Association does not track the total number of bullying lawsuits, but there’s been 132 settled bullying cases since 1996.

Our affiliate CBS12 in West Palm Beach, Florida contributed to this story.

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