Anti-Cyber Bullying Bill Fails: Family Speaks Out


Tuesday, May 17th 2011, 10:58 pm
By: News 9


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.