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PNS Daily News - October 23, 2020 

President Trump and Joe Biden square off in their final debate; warnings that "dark days" of the pandemic are yet to come; and food assistance now available for some wildfire victims.

2020Talks - October 23, 2020 

The second and last presidential debate was much more controlled than the first; President Trump keeping to his main themes, calmly rebutted by Biden.

Homework on MO Anti-Bullying Law Still in Progress

August 18, 2010

ST. LOUIS, Mo. - While students in Missouri are headed back to class, a safe schools coalition is back at work keeping a anti-bullying bill alive that singles out groups for the sake of overall safety. Anti-bullying laws are common, but not ones that spell out categories, such as race, religion, disabilities or gender identity.

Religious leaders and disability advocates say including categories is vital to promoting the safety of students. Morgan Keenan, safe schools coordinator with the Promo Fund, says singling out groups is an effective way of decreasing bullying incidents.

"Enumerated categories is crucial in making sure that we actually get the effective change that we want out of this. It's not just part of it — it's crucial."

Critics of such bills see the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity as a way to advance the homosexual agenda in Missouri. But Keenan and others point to British studies that found one in four kids are bullied because of religion and students with disabilities are bullied more compared to the general student population. Eleven states currently have enumerated anti-bullying laws.

Keenan says the language of the Safe Schools Act won't change from last year's bill, although this year, lawmakers will see a broader-based coalition pushing it, especially in the faith community.

"They're going to be working really hard on the message that we're going to use with legislators, so people can understand that this is not just about being black or white, or gay or straight."

The Safe Schools Act will also require training so teachers will know how to effectively intervene.

Heather Claybrook/Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - MO