Dallas Schools Get Tough on Bullies

Punishment for bullying under new policy rangers from counseling to explusion

The Dallas school district became the first in the state to pass an anti-bullying policy with protections for gay students.

The comprehensive policy also prohibits harassment based on race, religion and political beliefs.

The initial version of the policy was a brief, two-page document that was criticized for not going far enough. But the final version that unanimously passed Thursday night is eight pages that got a standing ovation from some members of the audience.

"I want to apologize to all our students that have been in our system and we didn't have a system to protect you," said Dallas Independent School District Trustee Bernadette Nutall.

The policy, which takes effect immediately, is considered one of the most comprehensive in the country.

Punishment under ranges from counseling to expulsion.

"The motion being passed pretty much made my year," said Booker T. Washington student William Nuvant.

The high school senior got choked up as he told trustees how he tried to take his own life twice because he was bullied for being gay.

"The memories I have of growing up in a DISD school will be of bullying, being harassed and called inhumane words that no one should be called," he said.

But Nuvant said he takes comfort in knowing there is now a policy to protect students from suffering the way he has.

"The number of kids that are my story are going to decrease," he said.

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