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Proposed Anti-Bullying Scholarship Bill Draws Local Criticism

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The first bill introduced Tuesday to the Florida House would create the so-called Hope Scholarship Program. It would give victims of bullying the chance to transfer to another public school, or get a scholarship to a private one. Advocates say the bill is primarily an anti-bullying measure. Leon County Superintendent Rocky Hanna sees it differently.

“Every school takes bullying very seriously, but to now say that if a child claims that they’re being bullied, harassed at school, we’ll give you tax dollars and you can go to a private school instead, that’s ludicrous," Hanna says. "And it’s just another example of how this, again, Republican-led legislature has tried to systematically dismantle the public school system."

Hanna isn’t the only one who takes issue with the bill. He says he expects several local lawmakers to express their concerns about proposed education policy during this year’s legislative session.