AUSTIN, Texas — A new bill filed at the State Capitol Monday morning targets childhood and teen bullying. Lawmakers filed the bill in honor of a Texas teen who killed himself after years of bullying.
House Bill 2343 is called Asher’s Law. It is named in honor of Asher Brown, 13, who killed himself in September 2010 to escape continuous bullying.
Monday morning Brown’s parents stood on the south steps of the State Capitol urging lawmakers for change.
“No one should ever have to come home to police tape around their house,” said Brown’s mother, Amy Truong.
A large crowd filled in around the steps to listen.
The bill filed in honor of Asher is a suicide prevention bill. Representative Garnett Coleman is the author. His bill would require the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Texas Education Agency to coordinate and develop a suicide prevention program for all public schools. It also calls for changes in the Education Code when it comes to discrimination, harassment, retaliation and bullying.
For Brown the bill comes too late, but his parents are hopeful it will help others.
“We’re here for everybody who’s left behind. It’s not really about Asher anymore, or the kids who have died, it’s about the kids who are still around,” said Brown’s father, David Truong.
“Asher would want it that way too,” added his mom. “He was always very interested in helping others and helping in causes that were larger than himself. He was very mature in that respect. We’re doing his work.”
Asher’s Law is broken in to a number of different sections including suicide prevention and changes to the education code.
One part in particular allows districts to call for the transfer of students who are engaged in bullying to another classroom or another campus altogether.
The bill further requires school districts to provide an annual report of bullying incidents at each of its campuses. It is one of numerous equality based bills filed at the Capitol this session.
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