TALLAHASSEE – A school program designed to help bullied students moves forward.

The Florida Board of Education on Wednesday unanimously approved a rule for a controversial new program that will let bullied students transfer to private schools.

Hope scholarships will allow students who are victims of bullying or other violence to receive public funding to move to private schools or other public schools.

The program was approved, and mandates that upon report of an incident to a school principal, the school district must notify the student’s parents about the scholarship opportunity within 15 days or upon the completion of an investigation, whichever occurs first.

Meanwhile, the Hope scholarship plan drew heavy debate during this year’s legislative session, with many Democrats arguing it is more about expanding school vouchers than addressing problems with bullying.