Safe Schools for All Rally at the Capitol this Monday, May 20 at 10am in the Great Hall
UPDATE AS OF 2:40AM Mon. May 20
The Senate will not vote on the Safe Schools bill this session. We have heard that the opposition threatened 10 hours of debate. We will have to wait until next year, but we will continue to work to get this passed! Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to protect students.
We still plan to rally at 10am.
Facebook Post from Sen. Scott Dibble:
So much for Republicans' vows to refashion themselves as a more inclusive and "caring" party in the aftermath of their last elections' shellacking. How does killing a bullying bill by threatening a 10 hour filibuster in the closing hours of the legislative session square with that? I assured Minority Leader David Hann, who delivered the threat to me personally, that we will pass every single word of this bill into law as soon as we return to the second half of this biennial session next February. It is unconscionable to force Minnesota students to endure another year without the safety and support in their own schools that is their right. Hard to believe I serve with people who cannot hear the plea for help that Minnesota kids have brought to the Capitol year after year.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PASSES SAFE & SUPPORTIVE SCHOOLS ACT Read the press release.
Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act
Currently, Minnesota has one of the weakest anti-bullying laws in the country – just 37 words. If passed, the Safe & Supportive Schools Act will provide our state with one of the most effective. The bill would repeal the current law and replace it with new, comprehensive legislation, which would require Minnesota school districts to adopt policies to protect all students and provide adequate support for teachers and other adults to effectively implement policies to keep students safe.
Click here to read stories from students who have been bullied and learn more about why we need safe schools legislation.
The Safe Schools for All Coalition
The Safe Schools for All Coalition is a group of 90 education, disability, youth, religious, LGBT and social service organizations, as well as individuals. The Coalition supports the passage of comprehensive legislation that requires all Minnesota school districts to adopt policies to protect all students and provide adequate support for teachers to effectively implement policies to keep students safe.
List of Safe Schools for All Coalition Partners.
Please support our work for safe schools for all students. With you help, we can protect them from bullying and harassment.
Safe & Supportive Minnesota Schools Bill Introduced.
Local Impact Note for Safe Schools Act
Why is Safe Schools Legislation needed?
In a 2010 Minnesota Student Survey, conducted jointly by the state Departments of Health & Education, 13% of students reported being bullied once a week or more. A 2011 report from the U.S. Department of Education rated Minnesota’s current anti-bullying law the weakest in the nation. Current Minnesota law requires school districts to have a policy against bullying, but it doesn’t specify what the policy should say or who should be protected. It doesn’t require staff development for educators or learning activities for students on bullying prevention and intervention. And it doesn’t address what should be done to help students who bully examine their attitudes and change their behavior.
Background on the Bill
The Safe Schools for All bill was first introduced during the 2009 legislative session. It passed both the House (95-39) and Senate (46-8) with strong bipartisan support, but was vetoed by then Governor Tim Pawlenty.
In 2012, current Governor Mark Dayton established a Task Force on the Prevention of School Bullying, which consists of education professionals, issue experts and members of the public. The Task Force studied bullying in Minnesota schools and, in August of last year, released its report with recommendations to schools districts and legislators about policies and legislation.
Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Bill
A comprehensive anti-bullying bill, called the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act, will soon be introduced in the State Legislature. It would repeal the current law and replace it with new, comprehensive legislation, which would require every school district to establish an anti-bullying policy that includes the following components:
Clear definitions of bullying, harassment, and intimidation.
Enumerated protections for students who are most likely to be bullied or harassed because of their actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion, disability, sex, age, national origin, immigration status, marital status, family status, socioeconomic status, physical appearance, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression.
Training and resources for students, staff, and school volunteers on bullying prevention and intervention.
A specific procedure that school staff must follow when bullying incidents are reported, including the use of remedial responses that emphasize restorative justice to correct prohibited behavior.
The Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act will also establish a School Climate Center within the Department of Education. The center’s services will include:
Direct assistance for schools, parents, and students seeking information or help.
Policy review, development, and dissemination.
Data collection and interpretation of reported bullying and harassment incidents.
Identification of emerging trends and issues and support for school sites recovering from incidents.
Resources and opportunities for education, training, and skill building.
The Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act is closely based on recommendations from the Governor’s Task Force on the Prevention of School Bullying.
Safe Schools Youth Summit
Talking Points – February 18, 2013
The Safe Schools Youth Summit is the kick off event for the public campaign to pass comprehensive anti- bullying legislation this session. The event has been organized by OutFront Minnesota, co-founder of the Minnesota Safe Schools for All Coalition. Below are some key points to keep in mind when talking to people about the event today and this bill.
Currently, Minnesota has the weakest anti-bullying laws in the country. They do not explicitly protect all students.
School districts are required 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.
It’s time to repeal these ineffective laws, and replace them with one clear, comprehensive law that protects all students from bullying and harassment at school.
The Safe & Supportive Minnesota Schools Act is based on recommendations from Governor Dayton’s Task Force on the Prevention of School Bullying.
Enumeration will protect students who are more likely to be targeted with harassment based on certain characteristics.
Educators need tools and resources on bullying prevention and intervention.
Training and resources for students, staff, and school volunteers will help prevent bullying and provide tools for intervention.
A stronger law will help set the tone for a school environment that is safe and conducive for learning.
All students deserve the right to an educational environment that is free from bullying and harassment.
Students who are bullied are not able to give their full attention to learning because they may be worried about what happens in between classes and before and after school.
All students should be allowed to spend their school day learning, making friends and being inspired about their future.