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Teenagers hope lawmakers pass more anti-bullying regulations

By Brittany Nelson Manookin | Posted - Jan. 31, 2013 at 7:30 a.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — Lawmakers have been debating big issues on Utah's Capitol Hill this legislative session, but they are not the only ones. On Wednesday, hundreds of teenagers talked about potential legislation dealing with bullying.

"It's a problem in our world today," said Woods Cross High School student, Lauren Johnson. "I think it will always be an issue. But I think the way we handle it can change."

The Utah League of Cities and Towns hosted 600 Utah high school students to participate in a mock committee hearing dealing with anti-bullying legislation. While none of the measures were real proposals that the legislature will be tackling this year, they served as good fodder for the future.

Rep. Carol Spackman-Moss, D-Salt Lake, a former teacher, helped pass Utah's current anti-bullying law back in 2008, which requires every district to have a policy defining bullying and how to deal with it. However, legislation currently doesn't require schools to report bullying.

"Until we really know how many incidences are reported, and whether this goes down with bullying prevention programs, how can we do anything more to combat it?" Spackman-Moss said.

The Utah League of Cities and Towns said 81 percent of people report being bullied during their junior and high school years.

Contributing: Andrew Adams

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