Colombia’s Congress on Thursday passed legislation seeking to decrease incidents of violence caused by bullying.
Under the new law, schools will play an active role in monitoring cases of violent bullying.
According to Education Minister Maria Fernanda Campo, educational institutions will now be required to report such incidents to government officials and follow up on those students involved.
Representative Telesforo Pedraza, a co-author of the legislation, explained the importance of identifying name-calling and teasing as the first signs of bullying. Adding that students needed to understand “the effects caused by harassment,” Pedraza hopes the act will ultimately “form active citizens who contribute to the construction of a democratic, participatory, pluralistic, and intercultural society.”
Officially known as the “National System of Coexistence,” the Colombian law, which has President Juan Manuel Santos‘ support, also includes measures to educate young people about teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
The Ministry of Education found 13 percent of students left school as a result of bullying in 2011.