ST. PAUL, Minn. – Today, by a vote of 36-31, HF826, the Safe and Supportive Schools Act passed the Minnesota Senate. A broad-based task force established by the governor on bullying found the state’s current bullying law, at 37 words, to be the weakest law in the country. The Safe and Supportive Schools Act offers a comprehensive approach to the problem of bullying in Minnesota’s schools and is responsive to many of the findings and recommendations of the task force. The bill provides a clearer definition of bullying, gives students, teachers and administrators tools to respond to and prevent bullying, and allows individual districts to develop their own anti-bullying policies and practices.
Chief author of the Safe and Supportive Schools Act State Senator Scott Dibble (DFL – Minneapolis) released the following statement after the bill’s passage:
“No child in Minnesota should have to choose on a daily basis between feeling safe and going to school, and with passage of this bill, they no longer have to. Our students will now be able to feel supported, our teachers and administrators will have the tools and training they need to address bullying, and our parents will not have to worry about the safety of their kids in schools.
Misinformation perpetuated about the bill is unfortunate. This has always been about doing what is right for our kids. No child in Minnesota should be bullied, and every student is going to be protected thanks to the Safe and Supportive Schools Act. I look forward to swift action in the House so we can get the bill in front of Governor Dayton for his signature.”
The bill includes no curriculum requirements, ensures all students are protected, reaffirms students’ free speech rights, does not mandate a verbatim statewide bullying policy, provides for a presumption of parental notification, allows schools to determine for themselves what the most appropriate types of response and training are, requires no data collection, does not require community organizations to participate, includes a narrowed definition of bullying and provides funding to assist with implementation of activities schools choose to undertake.
For information on this or any legislation, please contact Sen. Scott Dibble at 651-296-4191 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org