The Florida House of Representatives has released legislation creating a new school choice program for victims of bullying and harassment in public schools.
It would allow victims to transfer to another public school, or qualify for a state tax credit scholarship. Victims who transfer to a public school in another district would also become eligible for transportation scholarships. The little-used portion of the state’s tax credit scholarship program allows families to receive up to $750 for transportation across legislative lines.Students would become eligible for the program 15 days after reporting an eligible incident to their school district. Those incidents, listed in the bill, include: “battery; harassment; hazing; bullying; kidnapping; physical attack; robbery; sexual offenses, harassment, assault, or battery; threat or intimidation; or fighting at school.”
During legislative meetings Thursday hosted by the Associated Press in Tallahassee, House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, identified the legislation as a priority for Republicans in his chamber. The goal, he said, was to ensure children who face threats have a chance to quickly move to a different learning environment.
“What we want is the child is to be in an environment where they feel safe and secure,” he said.
The bill is set to come before the House K-12 Innovation Subcommittee next week.
Step Up For Students, which publishes this blog, helps adminsiter the tax credit scholarship program in Florida.