OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- A bill designed to stop bullying in schools has stalled in the Legislature amid opposition from Christian conservatives who say it is really a gay-rights measure.
Under the measure, school districts would have to write policies against bullying and train employees and volunteers to stop harassment.
Teachers, police, Gov. Gary Locke and Attorney General Christine Gregoire said the legislation is needed to protect picked-on kids.
But the state's chapter of the Christian Coalition said it could be seen as trying to prevent some students from condemning homosexuality. Rick Forcier, director of the Christian Coalition of Washing-ton, said the measure could lead to homosexual sensitivity training in schools.
''We don't want to see kids beat up on and we would like to see the rules that are already in place enforced,'' he said. ''But I think this one went well beyond what we think is necessary.''
The measure passed the Senate but never made it to a vote in the House Education Committee in the regular session that ended April 22. The governor has listed it on his agenda for the 30-day special legislative session now under way.
The original Senate bill refers to a hate crime law that protects homosexuals, among others. The reference was dropped from the current version.
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