Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Anti-Cyber Bullying Bill Fails: Family Speaks Out

Ty Field inspired HB 1461. The Perkins boy killed himself after being bullied.

Dana Hertneky, News9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- State leaders voted down a bill named after an 11-year-old boy who killed himself after being bullied. House members killed the anti-bullying legislation with a 44 to 52 vote.

One year ago Tuesday, Kirk Smalley buried his 11-year-old son Ty.

"His mamma and I kissed him goodbye for the last time and I laid him to rest," said Smalley.

Tuesday was also the day he found out lawmakers voted down the House Bill aimed at preventing the type of bullying that led to his son's suicide. The bill was named after Ty.

"I'm really disappointed, ticked off to tell you the truth," said Smalley,

The bill would have mandated all school personnel be trained in recognizing bullying and require counseling for all parties when bullying does occur.

"We can't hold our heads in the sand anymore and think this will fix itself," said Smalley. "These people had the opportunity to fix this and save kid's lives and help schools get the training they need and they didn't do that."

"I just felt like it was overkill and a huge mandate placed on local school districts," argued Rep. Pam Peterson (R ) Tulsa, who led the debate against the bill.

She doesn't deny there's a problem. She just doesn't think the legislature is the solution.

"It was requiring school districts to train all their employees, their volunteers and file reports with us in the legislature," said Rep. Peterson.

But supporters of the bill argue lawmakers missed out on helping thousands of Oklahoma children in need.

"Any child that takes their own life because they were picked on at school, this will be on their heads, and I hope they can sleep with themselves at night," said Smalley.

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1 hour ago
Rep Pam Peterson - "She doesn't deny there's a problem. She just doesn't think the legislature is the solution." Okay, if training personnel to recognize and effectively deal with instances of bullying isn't the solution, what the heck do you think is? More irresponsible action by legislators in this state.


  1. The case of Ty Field-Smalley has not only been the core of this bill, that now has been brought down by the all-prevailing ignorance and short-sightedness of Republican politicians.

    Ty's story is also one of five that are part of the upcoming documentary "The Bully Project" by Lee Hirsch.
    (movie trailer)
    (about the film and the students and families involved)

    The movie will be in theaters soon, and then, many people will learn about learn about Ty's story, about the indescribable grief of his parents and the hopes they had set into this bill, so that other kids might be protected better against being bullied and abused at school, because finally, it would not have been *an option* for teachers and school stuff to step in when bullying happens, but an obligation.

    I can only hope that as many as possible Oklahoma parents and kids will ask Rep. Pam Peterson how she and enough of her colleagues could do on the highest level possible, the judiciary level, what so many do:

    Turn the blind eye, walk away, do nothing to help, leave bully victims alone in their misery, trusting that someone somewhere will find some kind of solution.

    Rep. Pam Peterson and her fellow ignorants (let's not call them politicians any more... they bring too much dishonor to this word) set an example that makes even me feel massively outraged and sad at the same time. I can only begin to imagine how Ty's parents must feel.

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