D.C. wants to tackle bullying in schools and other places. The city council is considering a series of bills that are designed to cut down on harassment -- whether in the classroom, the library or even online.
For Trina Cole, the torment from classmates began when she started identifying as transgender. She says the faculty at D.C.'s Dunbar High School did little, with one staff member allegedly even telling Cole she brought it on herself for "flaunting it."
"I absolutely feel that I was being blamed," Cole says. "As LGBT youth in the community, we are humans too. We deserve the same respect as other human beings [do] too."
David Aponte says he was bullied for a number of reasons at his school in Manassas, Va.
"[I was bullied] for being short, for being 'too intelligent,' as my peers described it, and for being Jewish," Aponte says. "It got to the point where I got depressed about myself, and I tried to commit suicide three times."
Cole and Aponte were among the more than a dozen or so witnesses who testified in favor of the bills at the city council hearing.
The legislation would define what constitutes bullying, set up standard reporting procedures for school officials, and ban bullying on all government properties, such as recreation centers and libraries.
But right now the legislation doesn't lay out what happens if someone is caught bullying, and Mayor-elect Vincent Gray says that's what the council will address next.
"That's the issue," Gray says. "There have to be consequences, otherwise the policy is absolutely worthless."
No date has been set for a vote on the legislation.
The start of Maryland's General Assembly session is a little less than two months away, but state lawmakers are already crafting bills that propose certain alcohol and tobacco regulations. And pinball.
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