New Arizona bill would aim to stop bullying at schools

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PHOENIX – A new bill in Arizona is aimed at protecting kids against bullies at school.

Caleb Laieski, 16, dropped out of school because he says he was being bullied for being gay and felt he had nowhere to turn.

The proposed bill, the Arizona Safe Schools Act, is designed to better protect kids from bullies.

“In the beginning, it was very difficult,” Laieski said.

He said he announced he was gay in eighth grade and was threatened to be killed and told he was going to hell.

Laieski told his teachers about the name-calling and threats but said nothing was ever done.

“Administration failed, but I stayed strong and I took it from another perspective,” he said.

Laieski chose to become the “voice” for the Arizona Safe Schools Act. The act is being examined by the Senate Education Committee at the Capitol.

Sam Holdren with Equality Arizona helped write the bill.

“It does so in a way that ensures schools are protecting all children from bullying and harassment regardless of their background, including their sexual orientation and gender identity,” Holden explained. “Without that language schools then ignore their responsibility to protect these kids and then we see some really serious consequences.”

Despite dropping out of school, Laieski has since received his GED and is currently enrolling in a community college to study criminal justice.

The proposed bill would also address cyber bullying and gives schools the power to discipline student engaging in any type of cyber bullying using school computers.

If the Arizona Safe Schools Act passes, teachers will be trained further on how to address bullying issues at school.