AUSTIN — Montana Lance was 9 years old when he hanged himself in the nurse's restroom at his elementary school in Lewisville. His parents say the school did not do enough to protect their son, who had been bullied for years.
Lance's parents, Jason and Deborah, were among several witnesses who testified Tuesday before the Senate Committee on Education in support of legislation that would prohibit any form of bullying in Texas schools.
Bullying is the suspected cause of at least four Texas students who have taken their own lives since the 2009 legislative session.
"We need the Legislature to enact a bill this session," Deborah Lance said. "If we have to wait for the next session, that's two more years and eight more children's deaths at the least. These children are dependent on us. Let's not fail them the way the schools are failing them."
A bill proposed by Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, would change the state's current practice of sending a bullying victim to another school, moving the aggressor elsewhere instead. The legislation also requires school officials to be trained to identify bullying signs and learn effective response methods.
"It's incumbent upon all of us," Davis said. "If we see something happening where young people in alarming numbers are taking their own lives, then we must get involved."