Special to the
Resolutions introduced by Alabama House Democratic Caucus Members Reps. Neil Rafferty (D-Birmingham) and Merika Coleman (D-Birmingham) passed the House last Thursday, putting a spotlight on the growing problem of bullying and promoting anti-bullying programs in schools and the workplace statewide.
“Last month, we lost a bright young mind when Nigel Shelby of Huntsville committed suicide,” Rafferty said. “LGBTQ+ teens across the state struggle with their identities as they try to earn an education and enjoy their youth. When bullying enters picture, we have an almost impossible situation which prohibits our kids from succeeding and thriving. Anti-bullying programs must be supported in every school district so that we may generate awareness, promote safety, and build the character of every child.”
HJR 247 condemns bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and recognizes the correlation between suicide and bullying. HJR 246 condemns bullying, as a whole, in any form and place.
“One life lost to bullying and depression is one life too many,” Coleman said. “Tragically, we see our kids take their own lives at increasingly younger ages, as we saw in fifth grader Jamari Terrell Williams. Legislators, teachers, parents, administrators and students themselves must strongly support and encourage understanding and love in our every day lives. The further development and availability of anti-bullying programs in schools, workplaces and any other appropriate place is critical to the health and wellbeing of our young citizens.”