University of Arizona psychology Prof. Robert Bechtel was bullied and taunted from age 4 until he became a student at Pennsylvania’s Swarthmore College in 1955. One day, he shot one of his tormentors to death in a dorm; he was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Bechtel urged an Arizona legislative panel yesterday to take a crucial first step toward outlawing bullying in Arizona schools, says the Arizona Republic. “I’m telling you from a personal experience what bullying can do,” he said.
An Arizona anti-bullying bill was hung up last year because Arizona schools already have state-mandated anti-hazing policies and federally mandated anti-harassment policies. When bullying gets physical, children can be charged with assault. One lawmaker said the state needs specific anti-bullying policies to make sure school employees treat the problem seriously. Arizona is one of 33 states that do not have specific anti-bullying policies, says a nationwide anti-bullying support group.