Gov. McAuliffe signs anti-bullying, school counselor license bills

Governor McAuliffe signed a bill into law that requires schools to notify parents of investigations into alleged bullying events their children are involved in.

HAMPTON, Va. (WVEC) -- A bill signed into law by Governor Terry McAuliffe has one Hampton mother excited and thankful.

The bully notification bill introduced by Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn.

It was just five years ago when Shant'a Milller-Synaker faced a tragedy no parent wants to encounter.

"One of my twins was brutally attacked on the school bus by her bully," she said.

It was painful for their entire family.

"She was brutally attacked. She was kicked in the head for 17 minutes total," said Miller-Synaker.

She turned their pain into passion.

She founded "Parents Against Bullying", hoping to be a testament to the community to show that there's no place for bullying.

"I didn't want another family left alone so I wanted to make sure I provided resources and provided our story," she said.

She's been at it for years with her daughter now by her side.

"She's actually an advocate for parents against bullying and I'm very excited about that because not every parent can say that," she said.

Now, she has another person she considers a partner by her side, Governor Terry McAuliffe.

He signed into a law a bully notification bill. HB 1709 requires schools to notify parents of students involved in alleged bullying incidents of the status of any investigation within five school days of the allegation.

"That truly is a big huge leap for us just letting us know that we are being heard that we are being helped and he's helping so many of us," she told 13News Now.

Miller-Synaker said this isn't just a huge win for her and her cause, but for parents everywhere.

"It almost brings me to tears that our legislation is fighting and hearing our cry," she said.

The law goes into effect on July 1, 2017.

HB 1709 by 13News Now on Scribd

McAuliffe is also set to sign another bill in conjunction with the anti-bullying bill.

SB 1117 requires those obtaining a school counselor's license to complete training in the recognition of mental health disorders and behavioral distress, including depression, trauma, violence, youth suicide, and substance abuse.

SB 1117 was initially introduced by Senator Jeremy McPike (D-Dale City).

SB 1117 by 13News Now on Scribd

McAuliffe is expected to hold a signing ceremony for both bills in Woodbridge on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. at Forest Park High School.

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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