Current bullying and harassment laws in Minnesota are not strong enough and do not explicitly protect all students. One current law requires school districts to have a policy that prohibits harassment based on sex, race and religion. Another law requires districts to have a bullying policy, but does not specify any details about what the policy should include.
Students with certain characteristics are subject to higher rates of bullying and harassment than others. For example, students with disabilites, immigrant students, students who identify as LGBT or have LGBT parents, or who have certain physical characteristics are at higher risk of being bullied at school. (more…)Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
In the 2009 legislative session, Family Equality Council and OutFront Minnesota, with the support of over 40+ organizations forming the Safe Schools for All Coalition, including Arc of Minnesota , PACER Center, Education Minnesota, the MN school counseling and school social work organizations, Minnesota PTA, NAMI of Minnesota, several faith-based organizations and many others, led efforts to pass a comprehensive safe schools bill that would strengthen existing bullying and harassment laws.
The chief authors of Safe Schools for All Bill were Senator Scott Dibble and Representative Jim Davnie, who were joined by 4 additional authors in the Senate and 21 additional authors in the House. The bill passed Senate and House Education committee hearings and garnered some local media attention. Star Tribune, KSTP, and Fox 9 News all ran stories on the bill. The Star Tribune also published an op-ed by Andy Berlin, a high school student who experienced horrendous harassment at school, and the Strib’s Editorial board came out in support of the bill.
The Safe Schools for All Bill passed the Senate and awaited a House vote. Governor Pawlenty’s office contacted the bill’s chief authors, Sen. Dibble and Rep. Davnie, to work out a compromise version of the bill. A compromise version was created and approved by Governor Pawlenty’s staffers. The compromise version then passed the House and re-passed the Senate with wide bipartisan support, 95-39 in the House and 46-8 in the Senate. Governor Pawlenty vetoed the bill over Memorial Day weekend, reneging on the compromise made with his office.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )