“Hey, that’s not cool” says 12th-grader Cassady
By now you have probably heard about 13-year-old Megan Meier. She is the Missouri teen who was bullied on MySpace by 16-year-old Josh. But Josh didn’t really exist – he was created by an adult who wanted to see if Megan was bad-mouthing her daughter online. The cyberbullying contributed to Megan’s suicide in 2006.
This tragedy led to the introduction of a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives called the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act. It calls for criminal penalties of up to two years in prison for anyone who uses electronic means to bully.
Another bill being considered by Congress is the State School Improvement Act. If passed, it will require public schools to report any bullying and have in place anti-harassment programs. A House subcommittee recently heard testimony from students, educators, and a parent of an 11-year-old who committed suicide following a year of bullying at school.
Cassady Tetsworth is a senior in high school. She participates in SAVE (Students Against Violence Everywhere). Cassady testified before Congress calling for zero-tolerance against bullying. “A federal law would make it more concrete, and not just something our school system wants us to do.”
Commenting on the power of positive peer influence, she said calling someone out for doing something uncool sounds better coming from a peer. “It’s important not to watch bullying happen and just be a bystander.”
You can follow Megan’s bill through Congress by looking at www.govtrack.us. Just search for the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act, add it to your trackers and you’ll receive email notices regarding the progress of the bill.