History of the Anti-Bullying Movement

Instructor: Tisha Collins Batis

Tisha is a licensed real estate agent in Texas. She holds bachelor's in legal studies and a master's degree in criminal justice.

In recent years, a harsh stance has been taken against bullying, as the effects of technological advances have made this problem even more challenging. This lesson will discuss the history of the anti-bullying movement.

History of the Anti-Bullying Movement

Rebecca Sedwick jumped from a concrete tower on September 10, 2013. She died as a result. She was a victim of bullying and had been for months. She had been threatened, intimidated, and even beaten up. Anyone who made the mistake of befriending her was also bullied. Her last months were miserable and not just at the hands of one aggressor. Sedwick was bullied by at least 15 girls. The bullying happened in person and online, with her receiving messages that she should kill herself. Before she died, she had spent time in the hospital due to slitting her own wrists. She had even moved to a different school, but that didn't stop the cyber-bullying.

Two girls were eventually arrested for bullying Sedwick. They were ages 14 and 12. One of them had posted a comment on social media after Sedwick's funeral, stating that she knew she bullied Sedwick into killing herself. This girl's comment also indicated that she didn't care. This was a horrid case of bullying that led to the death of an innocent victim.

When Did We Stop Tolerating Bullying?

On April 20, 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris retaliated for bullying they allegedly endured at their high school in Colorado. They had planned an attack for months and walked into Columbine School that day intending to kill. After taking the lives of 13 and wounding more than 20 others, they took their own lives. This quickly became known as the worst school shooting in U.S. history. It shocked the nation. Within a month, one state passed anti-bullying legislation. Eventually, every other state in the nation followed.

Columbine Massacre Memorial

States Get on Board


The first state to enact anti-bullying legislation was the state of Georgia. The law went into effect just a month after the Columbine Massacre. While Georgia laws don't name specific groups protected under the law, it does address cyber-bullying. It also addresses hazing, character education, policies that prohibit bullying, expected codes of conduct for students, and a disciplinary policy.


In 2008, the state of California enacted the nation's first law against cyber-bullying. Technological advances had made cyber-bullying a harsh reality. Bullies are now able to reach their victims anywhere and at any time. They may hide behind their computers and smart phones, sending messages to victims directly and posting about them on social media. California paved the way for other states to follow.

New Jersey

In September of 2011, New Jersey took a harsh stance against bullying, threatening legal action against witnesses of bullying who don't report the bullying. New Jersey's legislation also required that all bullying cases be reported to the state and that schools implement policies to address bullying.

Today, all states have laws against bullying. Some of these states also have policies that address how the states will handle bullying cases. While this has not stopped the problem of bullying, it has made some progress. As of now, there are no federal laws against bullying.

Other Programs


In 2005, the STOMP program was created. This program sought to reduce bullying and addressed both cyber-bullying and sexting. Sexting occurs when sexual material is communicated, such as by email or text message. It can include photographs, videos, and even text conversations. Additionally, the STOMP program raises awareness about the following issues in schools: homophobia, racism, and violence.

Cell phones make sexting possible.

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