In order to keep the people of Gulfport accountable for their words and actions, council unanimously agreed on the first reading to add the definitions of Bullying and Cyberbullying to Chapter 26 of the Gulfport Charter and Code of Ordinances under the Civil Rights definitions section.
Ordinances are laws that are enforced on a local level.
The anti-bullying ordinance was introduced by Councilmember Paul Ray, who has not been shy about his history of being bullied as a youth.
“There was no specific catalyst for the introduction of this,” said Councilmember Ray. “But, as someone who has been bullied during my youth and someone who witnessed bullying in so many aspects of life here in Gulfport, I felt (Gulfport’s Human Rights Ordinance) had a glaring lack of recourse for the people in Gulfport when it comes to anti-bullying.
“I think this would be a good way to address bullying for those leasing one of our properties that we’re in agreement with, or somebody who owns a business in town, or someone mistreats our staff or our staff mistreats other people.”
“This ordinance really shows where Gulfport stands on bullying,” stated Mayor Sam Henderson.
Council will vote on the ordinance on August 4.