The controversy is the solutions. Some think it requires a legislative solution. I think that legislative solutions are worthless. There's a lot of controversy regarding one bill that passed the senate that I think makes the mistake of trying to be all things to all people.
There's a lot of bad press regarding Senate Bill 0137. It's the bill passed by the senate regarding "bullying." The text of the legislation is here. The house is according to reports rejecting the language of the senate bill. One of the fights is over listed classes and protected classes. The one that passed had listed of protected classes.
This section does not prohibit a statement of a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction of a school employee, school volunteer, pupil, or a pupil's parent or guardian.
The issue was worries about someone who is Catholic or Evangelical getting busted for bullying due to a statement like "Homosexuality is wrong. It's against my religion." That's why the language was included. However, there's the problem of unintended consequences. The left has gone crazy with that language, and they actually have a point with that. This opens up a whole other can of worms. Wahhhabi Islam doesn't have much use for "Infidels." Westboro "Baptist" "Church" hates everybody. Those could be considered "sincerely held religious beliefs." That doesn't get to moral convictions which can cover anything. Some of the Westboro types may be able to chant at somebody over and over and over again in their face "God hates fags." There's a fine line between "Homosexuality is wrong. It's against my religion." and "God hates fags."
The senate bill makes things blurry. Other proposals may classify the former as bullying. Those that use the latter aren't going to give a damn what any law says anyway.
What the legislature is doing is trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Bullying is a problem. It's a school society issue. It can not be fixed by a law. This proposed law does NOTHING. It sets up some guidelines for schools telling them to do something - things they probably have already. Other than that, it's a way for politicians to pat themselves on the back and tell voters they are going after bullying. Then, this is forgotten about and nothing changes. Same as it ever was.
School officials care about one thing and one thing only. Order. Order over anything else. It doesn't have to be good order either. If a few people are bullies and the bullies don't cause too much trouble for the schools, it's a price the schools are willing to pay without controversy. Protecting the bullies is a policy against self defense. That's because in their minds, violence is always wrong for any reason. Both parties get suspended equally and it doesn't matter who starts it. It's wrong, but it is what it is. It's easy for people years removed from grade school to say don't worry about getting suspended for that. However, for most folks in school, a suspension is a big deal.
How can that be changed? By laws? Not much, unless they want to push a self defense immunity provision. By school policies, put in a policy allowing for self defense against bullying. Would that be perfect? No. But it damn well will help. The one thing bullies need more than anything else is an ass whooping and humiliation. Preferably, by a target, and preferably in front of all the bully's friends.
How can it be changed by us? The one thing needed more than else that bullied folks need is mental confidence. Easier said than done, but there are ways to help.
The first way is parents. Don't accept bullying behavior from your kids. That's the easy part.
The other part is toughness, especially mental toughness and confidence.
In the old days of the UFC almost 20 years ago, there were no weight classes. The earliest tournament winners weren't Dan Severn or Ken Shamrock. Big guys who were very good fighters and looked the part. The winner was a skinny 6'0 170lb guy named Royce Gracie. Gracie's family introduced Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training is a great way for smaller folks to be able to defend themselves against larger opponents. The Gracie family changed martial arts forever. In today's UFC, there is a combination of Muay Thai kickboxing, wrestling, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
With the rise of the UFC's popularity, kickstarted by Royce Gracie showing the value of techniques, MMA classes have sprouted up nationwide. Leaning those techniques and the discipline lead to mental confidence. Getting stronger and lifting weights also leads to mental confidence. At the same time, nobody want to mess with a Royce Gracie or a Urijah Faber. Those that do, will learn not to do so.
Bullying can be reduced if society wants it to happen. It won't be reduced by politicians passing laws, patting themselves on the back, and having things be the same as it always is.