Updated: Monday, 22 Nov 2010, 8:46 PM EST
Published : Monday, 22 Nov 2010, 8:28 PM EST
Hartford, Conn. (WTNH) - Keeping kids safe from bullies at school and online was an issue that state lawmakers were taking on. A forum on the issue drew a packed house at the State Capital on Monday.
Some of the stories about school yard bullying are really tough to take and be warned, some of the language is not very pretty.
With just 24 hours notice a special hearing on “Bullying in the Classroom and the Chat Room” was swamped. They had to open two more rooms to accommodate the overflow crowd.
Among those that told their stories was 16-year-old Jacob Griffith Gardner of Madison, who's gay, and who was struck in the head with softball size rock by a team mate at a cross country meet.
"It deeply disturbed me because I thought: this kid's my team mate, why is he hurting me?” Jacob described. “And come to find out a couple of days later when the rock had hit me and I had shown that it hurt me, the kid said, ‘What's the big deal? It's just that gay pussy fag kid."
16-year-old Logan West of Southington says she doesn't have a Facebook, MySpace or Twitter account because she has been harassed all through school because her parents are a mixed race couple.
"I wasn't black enough to fit in with the black girls, nor was I white enough to fit in with the white girls. So that left me with a target on my back because I really had no where to fit in,” Logan explained. “I was tortured for two years by my classmates and called horrible names. I was spat at on the bus. I was pushed down stairs. It was horrible."
This kind of stuff can get even worse in cyberspace. So, state lawmakers are considering extending the state's anti-bullying law so that teachers and school administrators can act, even though the bullying didn't actually happen at school.
"Harasses or intimidates them in ways that are going to affect them in school, then there is a connection which allows for school administrators to be involved,” said Representative Andrew Fleischman (D).
"Kids shouldn't show up at school in fear of their physical safety and so reasonable steps to prevent that ought to be taken,” stated Attorney General-elect George Jepson.
The states of Massachusetts and New Hampshire have already added cyberbullying language to their statutes and the General Assembly's Education Committee is expected to begin work on this kind of language as soon as the new session begins in January.