Pence signs anti-bullying legislation - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Pence signs anti-bullying legislation

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INDIANAPOLIS -

A group of mothers touched by their own personal tragedies has helped change Indiana law to better protect students from a growing problem.

This tough new state law is aimed at stopping students from bullying classmates.

"A year ago today, I actually tried to commit suicide," said Chelsea Little, 16. A year later, Little stood in Governor Mike Pence's office, watching him sign a new anti-bullying law.

"With appreciation, admiration from the people of Indiana for Tori and Angel and Chelsea, I'm going to sign this bill," said Pence, naming some of the teens impacted by bullying.

The law will require the state's Department of Education to establish uniform anti-bullying guidelines for schools.

It also gives the courts a clear definition of bullying, making it easier to bring criminal charges.

The law also requires schools to report instances of bullying and outlines procedures for schools to follow.

"When our kids go to school, families deserve to know that they're going to be free from harm and free from intimidation and bullying," said Pence.

That's something Little said she went through for more than a year, ultimately leading her to attempt suicide and eventually transfer schools.

"They shoved me into lockers and bathroom stalls. They called me all kinds of names and it was just a really big hardship for me to get through, and if it wasn't for this bill and the people around me, I wouldn't be here," said Little.

Sadly, two Indiana teens aren't here any longer, and it's because of bullying say their mothers.

Tori Swoape, 15, committed suicide last May after her mom said she was bullied repeatedly at school.

"These kids just want to be accepted. They just want to be liked," Lana Swoapes said.

Just three months ago, 14-year-old Angel Green hung herself at a bus stop.

"In her letter she had stated, 'Bullying is what killed me. Please get me justice,'" remembered Angel's mother, Danielle.

For Danielle and Lana, the new law is a start.

"It's just sad that's its taken all these kids deaths for this to happen," said Swoape.

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