Federal, local leaders hold bullying hearing

HOUSTON In a packed room filled with plenty of people with important titles, it was the moms and dads and students who made the impact.

"These bullies put fear into everyone," one father said. "We need to put fear into the bullies and their families."

It was billed not just a discussion, but also a fact-finding hearing. Federal state and local leaders chimed in and listened up.

Garrett McDaniel seized the moment.

"I'm so glad I finally have a voice in this," he said.

With his mom by his side, the eighth grader told the panel he's been repeatedly bullied. He thinks it's also what drove his friend, Asher Brown, to commit suicide late last month. Asher's parents, Amy and David Troung, say they often complained to his Cy-Fair school, but got no response. They're now committed to making a difference.

"So he didn't die in vain," Amy Truong said. "If there's any way possible that we can help one child, one family -- either through this story or what could possibly come from legislation -- then we will have done our job."

There were questions and answers, and many people cautioned against legislation.

"We've got to not only be tough, but we've got to be smart," State Sen. John Whitmire said. "We do not need to criminalize some behavior that we all recognize as foolish."

But what this 14-year-old thinks is foolish is finding a solution in a room of lawmakers.

"It is the responsibility of the parents, the district and the bullies to just stop bullying," McDaniel said. "That should be their responsibility, not the federal government to force them to stop bullying."

The meeting lasted about three hours on Monday. There weren't any solutions proposed, but many said there was a lot to take away.
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