Anti-bullying law gives guidelines for school curriculum

Heather's Law was passed in 2010 in memory of Debbie Norris' daughter.
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A law aimed at stopping teen violence is getting new attention.

"This is changing lives, changing students' lives," said Debbie Norris.

She was describing Heather's Law, which was named for her daughter who was murdered by her estranged boyfriend six years ago.

"I heard a lot about domestic violence, but I never listened to it, until I...until Heather became a victim of it," explained Norris.

Passed in 2010, Heather's Law requires the Indiana Department of Education to develop a curriculum so schools can talk about dating violence. The curriculum teaches young Hoosiers, their families and teachers on how to spot and end dating relationships that turn abusive.

Norris has often been part of that program and continues to be.

"I've opened their eyes to so many things. You know, it's most definitely having an effect on kids," she said.

That's the same thing Norris said she hopes will happen with the new anti-bullying law that went into effect this month. The tough new state law is aimed at stopping students from bullying classmates.

"I think it's a great law that was passed and, just like Heather's Law, I think both of them is going to help our students," said Norris.

The new anti-bullying law requires schools to follow new guidelines about what to do if bullying occurs. It also gives the courts a clear definition of bullying, making it easier to bring criminal charges when bullying occurs.

The law also requires schools to report bullying incidents.

"Heather told me one time that she believed that she was put on this earth to help people," explained Norris. "I believe that by Heather's Law and this bullying law, that dream is being brought to life."

All the while, both laws protect those who don't always know how to protect themselves during some of their most vulnerable years.

"I think its great. I think they work hand-in-hand basically," said Norris.

Heather's Voice