Letting Montana Kids Fight Back Against the Bullies
Most of us Montanans probably had the talk with our parents, or we've had the talk with our kids. Look, we don't want you getting into trouble or getting into fights at school- but, you have the right to defend yourself. But do they?
In Montana, we have self defense laws on the books. If a kid is walking on the streets of Montana, they have the right to defend themselves. But if they're walking in the halls of a public school- they may not have the right to defend themselves. According to two Montana parents who went public to Fox News, if their kid stands up to the bully that is bullying them- they get in trouble too.
Montana State Rep. Jedidiah Hinkle (R-Belgrade) is looking to fix that problem with House Bill 450- the "Protect physical self-defense in K-12 schools" bill. We spoke with Rep. Hinkle about the Fox News story and HB 450 (also known as the "Fight Back" bill) earlier this week.
Rep. Hinkle: Basically what it says...it says that if a school investigates, if there's an altercation between two students at a school investigates and finds that one student acted in self defense- then that student who acted in self defense cannot be reprimanded or disciplined.
Rep. Hinkle says he has spoken with parents about the issue, including one mom who said her son was bullied so much that he was contemplating suicide.
Rep. Hinkle: There's another parent on there who, when their son was being bullied, they had gone to the principal and the superintendent and said- well, you know, he keeps getting bullied, and if you're not going to do anything about it, then my son is going to fight back. And they they told her, they said- well, if your son fights back, he's going to get suspended. And she said, so literally my son has to get beat up to not be in trouble from the school? And they said yes, that's their policy.
After our conversation with Rep. Hinkle about HB 450, we got some great phone calls from parents and other folks all across Montana. Listen to the full conversation below: