Hillsborough Commission approves anti-bullying committee

08/05/09 Mitch E. Perry
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Today the Tampa Tribune and St. Petersburg Times reported on new revelations involving a Walker Middle School youth who said he was sexually assaulted by classmates at least 10 times. The same day, the Hillsborough County Commission voted unanimously to support an anti-bullying advisory committee, called ‘Bully-Busters’.

The proposal was brought forth by Commissioner Rose Ferlita , who said such antics are hardly exclusive to the County.

An assortment of officials with the County discussed what they intend to achieve with an a committee to combat school bullies. Commissioner Ferlita called bullying not a crime in and of itself, but behavior that could lead to criminal activity.

Bill Hogan is with the County’s Department of Children Services. He said staff members in several departments, including his own as well as libraries and Parks & Recreation, would try to create a zero-tolerance culture regarding bullying.

Sherry Fish from the County Attorney’s office said the Advisory Council would consist of officials from across the local law enforcement and education communities, including the Tampa school board, USF, and the department of Children and Families.

Commissioner Mark Sharpe asked Sherry Fish if students could be involved as well.

Commissioner Jim Norman applauded the proposal, but feared it could be so overwhelming in scope that it might undermine their goal.

The Board unanimously supported the new committee.

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