Senate Chamber to host anti-bullying rally

State Rep. Anastasia A. Pittman today (Tuesday, March 22) announced that students from around the state will participate in a rally in the Senate Chamber beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 23, to discuss legislation to address bullying and cyber-bullying. 

House Bill 1461 adds cyber-bullying to current state laws that specify how schools should address bullying behavior. The legislation also adds law enforcement to the list of groups that should be involved in coming up with a school’s anti-bullying policy.

Pittman said the event will include testimonials about the effects of bullying and cyber-bullying and a call for the bill’s Senate author to put Ty Field’s name on the bill.

“We’re excited that we are having a statewide youth bullying speak out,” said Pittman, an Oklahoma City Democrat. “It’s in honor of Ty Field, a young man who lost his life at 11 years old. We do not want Oklahoma to have a black eye on this issue. We are allowing Senate chambers to be opened for a half day for students from all across the state. We want to give students an opportunity to speak up and speak out against bullying.”

Pittman expressed support for legislation being advanced by state Sen. James Halligan, a Stillwater Republican, while also encouraging him to name the measure in Field’s honor.

“We will ask lawmakers to support Senator Halligan’s bill and encourage Senator Halligan to put Ty Field’s name on the bill so that we have a statewide collaboration of awareness. Kirk Smalley will be here, the father of Ty Field. He will facilitate the speak out,” Pittman said in a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK.

Pittman said the number of students planning to attend reflects their readiness to address bullying and cyberbullying.

“It’s in cyberspace, it’s in our schools, it’s in our homes, and kids are tired of it,” Pittman said. “They want to come and express their concerns and we are certainly going to allow them to have their voices heard.”

Pittman has led discussion of the issue, and was a featured speaker on the issue at a community panel discussion last month.

Rep. Pittman has authored legislation to address school bullying and cyber-bullying. Her proposal, House Bill 1976, is titled the “Ty Field School Bullying Prevention Act.”