Fighting Bullies in Harrisburg

LACKAWANNA COUNTY, Pa. -- Kyle Mullins was once a bullied kid. Now, he is a father and a state representative from Lackawanna County looking to make a change.

Mullins is among a group sponsoring bills in the Pennsylvania House and Senate aimed at clearly defining bullying and making it a more serious crime than it is now, according to WPMT in Harrisburg.

House Bill 2053 and its companion Senate Bill 564 would define bullying in the state crime codes as the intent to harass, annoy, alarm, or intimidate another person.

"As someone who bore the brunt of grade school bullying and teasing, I can tell you it wasn't fun. It hurt a lot, but then I got a break at the end of the school day. Oftentimes by Monday, the bullies had moved on," said Rep. Mullins, 112th District.

But with social media, bullying can now be a problem 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"Children no longer feel safe at school, not safe when they're at home because they can be subject to this bullying literally around the clock," said Lackawanna County District Attorney Mark Powell.

If passed, the law would upgrade bullying from a summary offense to a misdemeanor.

Lawmakers said the proposed legislation is not aimed at people who use bad judgment a few times, but rather at bullies to regularly try to threaten, harm, or degrade others.

"I think it's a really good idea, even because if kids know that that's a thing now, it might even stop them from starting to be a bully and giving kids such a hard time. It's such a big problem in our schools anymore," said Kim Zerechak of Dickson City, who is a mother to two children.


  • Rusty Knyffe

    Y’know……..bullies have always existed and so shall they always exist. It’s an unfortunate facet of the human condition. By expecting kids to run to authorities to solve their problems, it devalues the child’s sense of self and removes ANY ability for the child to develop a strategy to either cope or to end the torment by beating the $hit out of the bully.

    “Back in the day,” we used to sort bullying out after school. Those of us who took matters into our own hands learned that we actually COULD protect ourselves, rely upon ourselves, and ramp up our self-esteem 10 notches by sticking up for ourselves. Today? No wonder we have an entire generation of panty-waists.

  • savescrantonhistory

    You know what we did when I was in school in the 80’s and 90’s when we got picked on? We fought back. Making a law for bullying is the government equivalent of having your parent(s) come down to the school cuz you were picked on.

  • Lisa Marshinski

    2nd to 8th graders are now going to be charged with a misdemeanor? How about incorporating self defense into gym class. There’s nothing like self assurance the will give confidence and courage even to the fairest of them all.

    • Lisa Marshinski

      Oh, and how many are going to cry “HE THREATENED TO HURT MY FEELINGS!!” In their own malicious way ofcourse. No, there’s no potential for abuse here.

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