A 2011 U.S. Department of Education survey found Minnesota to have the weakest laws against bullying, harassment and intimidation, with only 37 words outlining the components of an anti-bullying policy. A 2010 study by the state departments of Education and Health found 13% of students reported being bullied once a week or more frequently. Current law requires school districts to have a policy against bullying and a plan for dealing with it, but the laws don’t define bullying, and they don’t describe what the plan should be or explain who should be protected.
Proponents visited the Capitol today to rally for repealing these ineffective laws, and replacing them with one clear, comprehensive law that protects all students from bullying and harassment at school.
Chief author of the Safe and Supportive Schools Act State Senator Scott Dibble (DFL – Minneapolis) released the following statement:
Right now in Minnesota those most precious to us, our children, lack the protections and safety they deserve in school. Over 11% of all kids themselves tells they are bullied weekly; over 30% if they’re viewed as different. The 37 words we have on the books right now don’t accomplish anything to protect our kids. Children deserve to feel safe in school and if they are bullied we need to make sure it stops.
The Safe and Supportive Schools Act clearly defines bullying, ensures protections for youngsters, gives teachers and administrators the tools and the ability to address bullying – especially prevention measures. When a school’s climate changes, the kids who felt targeted and isolated will now be supported, and benefit tremendously. With protections and better practices, all kids will be feeling better, doing better and our schools will become an even better place to be for everyone.
Thank you to this group of students from Anwatin for sharing their personal stories about bullying! They’re so brave! pic.twitter.com/XQl0BPTDA6
— Bobby Joe Champion (@BobbyJChampion) March 3, 2014
— Melisa Franzen (@MelisaFranzen) March 3, 2014
— Susan Kent (@SusanKentMN) March 3, 2014
— Amelia Cerling (@amelia_maude) March 3, 2014
Senator Susan Kent: “Why Anti-Bullying Legislation Matters“