What you can do
Safe Schools Law
Bullying is a Problem in Minnesota,
But You Can Be Part of the Solution!
As an educator, you know that bullying is a serious issue facing many students. In fact, three quarters of Minnesota junior high and middle school principals, and nearly half of high school principals agree on the matter.
Bullying negatively affects the atmosphere of a school and can disrupt the learning environment for everyone. Bullying has serious consequences including depression, anxiety, physical danger and, in some cases, suicide.
The policies that are in place today aren’t enough to protect our students. The U.S. Department of Education report rated Minnesota’s anti-bullying law as the weakest in the nation. Some groups of students—such as, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) students or students with disabilities—are at higher risk for bullying than other groups. We need legislation that specifically protects these students!
What Can Educators Do To Prevent Bullying?
● Petition your administration for comprehensive anti-bullying and diversity training.
● Speak up. Let your students and your coworkers know that you don’t accept bullying behaviors.
● Commit to making your school safe for LGBTQ youth. The GLSEN’s Safe Space Kit features the Guide to Being an Ally, which provides concrete strategies for supporting LGBTQ students, educating about anti-LGBTQ bias and advocating for changes in your school.
● Don’t assume anything—be inclusive in your language. Not all families or students are straight, having one mother and one father, or even two parents. (Rather than asking someone about their “mom and dad,” ask them about their “parents.”)
● Check your library for—and utilize—resources that are inclusive of ALL students (resources that include families, stories, characters, issues, and statistics that mention LGBTQ people, people of color, persons with disabilities, etc.).
Helpful Links and Resources
There are many helpful tools and resources on this topic at stopbullying.gov and glsen.org. Additional Resources are located below.
● MN School Outreach Coalition
● PACER's Educator Bullying Toolkit
● OutFront Training / Consultation for Educators
● The Equal Access Act and Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) organizations
● Best Practices in Bullying Prevention and Intervention
● A Guide to Developing, Maintaining and Succeeding With Your School Resource Officer Program
● Bullying Among Children and Youth with Disabilities and Special Needs (PDF)
● Electronic Aggression and Cyberbullying
● The ABCs of Bullying: Addressing, Blocking, and Curbing School Aggression
● Bullying Among LGBT Youth and Those Perceived to Have Different Sexual Orientations (PDF)
● Welcoming School Resources: Lesson Plans, Videos, and More!
● PFLAG School Resources
● Actions for School Boards & Superintendents
● Code of Discipline
● Exercise for Establishing Classroom Rules
● Talking with Youth about Sexual Identity
● Skill building! Member organization AMAZE challenges bias and bullying through the Families All Matter Book Project. They provide skill-building exercises to support courageous conversations and engage children directly in making their own environments safe for everyone. They also teach educators, parents, and other caring adults how to promote the knowledge, attitudes, language, and skills needed to work together across difference. Click HERE.
● Free downloadable books! Member organization Rainbow Rumpus provides free, downloadable books that contain information about how to talk with elementary and preschool children about LGBT-headed families as well as teaching activities related to each story. These are a great resource to build understanding and prevent bullying, and they are designed so children can create their own illustrations. Click here to download these free books!
For more information, visit our Resources page.