Arizona state senator David Schapira is hoping mad – and well he should be. Sen. Schapira of Tempe said at a recent news conference that his recent Senate Bill 1462 was intentionally held up by Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod for just long enough to miss the Monday deadline. More so, he claims that doing so has essentially killed the bill.
Democratic Senator David Schapira went so far as to call Herrod a “legislative terrorist” with the delays that she implemented that caused the bill to miss a deadline in the House agenda by 45 minutes. The bill focused on laws against bullying, creating bullying-prevention programs for school employees, creating a wider definition of bullying, and including electronic harassment through Facebook, text messages and similar mediums in the definition.
Schapira believes that the holes in the current anti-bullying laws need fixing, while Herrod thinks the legislation would intrude on public schools.
Schapira’s bill expands the definition of cyberbullying beyond school-district electronics so that it would include all electronics on school property. It also establishes a single collective definition for bullying that would apply for all Arizona schools, including charter schools.
Herrod has claimed, on a blog post March 9th and in other forums that the latest proposal is really just an agenda put forth by the gay community. As she wrote,
“The irony is that groups like Equality Arizona and GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) have chosen this issue to bully you and me into allowing them access into our schools and to our children.”
Schapira countered her argument during his news conference, explaining that the bill does not specify any group and that all sorts of children are victims of bullying. He also blamed Herrod for influencing (perhaps bullying?) Republican lawmakers who told him that they were specifically against the bill just because Herrod was.
Schapira called Herrod’s opposition “homophobic rhetoric” and said that her opinions included “wild conspiracies.”
Time will tell if the bill makes it to the next session. Certainly, however, Schapira and Herrod will be staying on opposite sides of this argument whether it makes it to the session or not.