Person of the Week: Caitlin Nolan

ByABC News
August 19, 2015, 1:26 PM

April 29, 2005 — -- Caitlin Nolan, a 15-year-old high school freshman from Oak Ridge, Tenn., is one of the authors of State Senate Bill 1621, which prohibits bullying in all of Tennessee's 136 school districts. This week, the Tennessee Legislature passed it unanimously.

"Being bullied is a constant state of fear," Nolan said. "You can't go to normal places that you would go, you can't go to the supermarket, fear of going to the movies on a Friday night, fear to go out to eat, you can't go to the mall, but most of all -- a fear to go to school."

Nolan is an easy target for bullies. An overachiever, she is president of the school council and an honor student.

She says she was bullied for more than two years in middle school. Nolan says she became so intimidated that it began to affect her grades. So she decided to do something about it

"I had been repeatedly harassed by the same person, and I remember coming out of gym class, opening my locker and then all of a sudden all that I remember is that I was face first into the locker," she said. "I remember the fear I had. It seemed like there was no one around to help."

The threats against Nolan weren't just physical.

"The emotional threats are the worst because they threaten you verbally and then you take it emotionally," she said. "And you take it with you long after the words they have said to you are over."

Her school suspended the bully, but Nolan says the intimidation continued.

"My school officials were very supportive," she said, "but there were no guidelines for what to do if someone was bullied."

Politics is in Nolan's blood. Her mom works for the town's mayor, and her dad is a lobbyist. Nolan thinks she would like to be a lawyer. For now, she plays on the school soccer team and volunteers at the local community center.

Some say bullying is just a matter of "kids being kids." But Nolan says there is no excuse for it.

"Any time a child is scared of school, when they're scared to learn, it's not just kids being kids," said Nolan. "It's harassment. It wouldn't be allowed to happen in the real world, yet we're allowing it to happen in our schools."

For some kids, bullying can lead to repressed anger and then violence.

Psychologists find that many of the children who commit school shootings are tormented, bullied and teased by schoolmates.

Nolan doesn't want to see that happen in her state. Once the bill she helped write is signed into law, specific guidelines will be put in place for the new school year. It is a plan that every school district will be required to follow.

"I hope this legislation brings to light that it is a problem," said Nolan, "and it is a problem that children are dealing with. I understand that this legislation isn't going to cure it all, but I hope it shines a light on the problem that students are facing."

ABC News' Elizabeth Vargas filed this report for "World News Tonight."