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Florida bill would pay bullied students to go to private school

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SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - Zulamit Barroso knows all too well the torment her young daughter endured during middle school. She says, "She was bullied, she was attacked. It was a constant problem."

She also says the school's administration did little to help.

"We complained to the principal, the vice-principal and nothing happened, they never did anything about it."

Now the Florida Legislature is considering a proposal that has made it's way through the House, giving parents the option to receive a state-funded private school voucher averaging 68-hundred dollars a year for children who say they have been bullied. It would come from what is called "the Hope Scholarship". It's funded through tax revenue generated from motor vehicle sales. Motorists would have the option to donate part of the sales tax to the scholarship in exchange for a tax credit. Borroso says it's the right thing to do.

"Children should be in a safe environment learning. that's what they go to school for and they can't do that if they're being bullied."

But Sarasota Classified Teachers Association President Patricia Gardner disagrees, she says all this bill does is take money away from public schools.

"Parents have school choice, so why can't they move to another public school? why is it all of a sudden a voucher to a private school. all this sounds a little slimy to me and when you dig deeper, you find out it has to do with money."

And bypassing the primary problem would let administrators off the hook.

"If you really have a problem with bullying, not just kids fighting with each other.....you need to go in an ask are other kids being bullied. Is someone ignoring this? do we have a problem at this school."