OUR IMPACT

ADVOCATING FOR BULLYING PREVENTION

Our content played a key role in a state campaign targeting Florida policymakers who had considered bullying and harassment legislation over the course of three years. Concern regarding youths completing suicide after being bullied or harassed had garnered attention of policymakers in Florida schools and state legislature with the 2005 death of a high school student. A revised anti-bullying bill was reintroduced into the Florida State Legislature in 2007 as the "Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act." The measure was brought to committees in the Florida House and Senate in spring 2008, at a time when a new issue of the Florida Well Aware™ bulletin - focusing solely on bullying in Florida schools - was released statewide via online, print, and listserve dissemination. While it was one component in a mix of communications outreach to legislative decision makers, the Florida Well Aware™ bulletin underscored the state's needs for bullying legislation in a clear and compelling way.

The Florida Legislature did adopt the "Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act" in April 2008 (Fl. Stat. section 1006.147). It was signed into law by Gov. Charlie Crist on June 10. The legislation has been called groundbreaking and is lauded as a model for other states. Says Erin MacInnes, Director, Statewide Office of Suicide Prevention: "Well Aware™ wove a compelling argument for our anti-bullying legislation. The issue was presented in a clear and engaging way. I see Well Aware™ as a key piece in our communications outreach to make the case for the passage of this bill in Florida."