Minnesota is looking at a new law that would require tougher public school policies to combat bullying. The bill has passed the state House and is now waiting for a vote by the Senate.
An anti-bullying bill
in the throngs of state legislature in Minnesota
recently passed a major hurdle. The Minnesota House approved the bill designed to strengthen schools’ responses to bullying, in a vote that mostly ran along party lines. While many applaud this step forward as a way to more effectively protect children from damaging behavior in school, others have voiced concern that state lawmakers are overstretching their reach to the public school system.
About the Bill
According to TwinCities.com
, the new anti-bullying bill was introduced by House representative Jim Davnie (DFL-Minneapolis). Davnie says that bill is necessary, because the current 37-word anti-bullying law for the state is inadequate in protecting bullied victims
. Davnie asserts that if his bill is passed, it would take Minnesota from being one of the weakest states in the country on bullying to “instead, being a leader in building safe and supportive school climates for all students.”
One of the most important features of the bill, according to a report at Minnesota Public Radio
, is the fact that it defines what bullying is. Davnie explains, “It established clear definitions of bullying, cyber-bullying, harassment and intimidation, and then sets a high bar for school involvement.”
In the new bill, bullying is identified as any word or action that “disrupts a student’s education.” It also lists bullying based on student race, sexual identity, disability or social status. If the bill passes, school employees will be required to attend training that teaches them how to identify bullies and how to prevent bullying behavior.
School districts would also face additional reporting requirements with detailed descriptions of bullying incidents. All formal complaints regarding bullying activity would need to be investigated. A statewide school climate center would be responsible for ensuring reporting and training occurred on schedule. Training for teachers and staff would become an ongoing part of professional development programs.
Why it’s Needed
Those in support of the new bill say a stronger law is needed to protect students from bullying in Minnesota schools. Current law requires all schools to have policies...read more