Minnesota lags behind in anti-bullying legislation
November 28, 2011 by James
In St. Paul, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson is putting pressure on the Minnesota Legislature to enact a new policy concerning school bullies in her state. According to Swanson, Minnesota has been receiving negative public attention in recent years due to a string of school-bullying incidents.
According to Kare 11 News, Swanson said that Minnesota’s anti-bullying law is the ‘shortest in the nation,’ and it only requires the schools to adopt a vague policy that prohibits bullying but sets forth no standards or specific reporting requirements. Swanson said:
“No child should be afraid to go to school because of bullying,
“While policies and reporting can’t stop all bullying, they can set a strong tone and school culture against it.”
Swanson is right to be concerned; a national website, Bullypolice.org, gave Minnesota a C- grade. With the exception of South Dakota, Michigan and Montana, which have no anti-bullying legislation, Minnesota’s law is ranked last in the country.
Swanson’s proposed law is modeled after North Dakota’s legislation, which was graded A++ by Bullypolice.org and would require the reporting of all bullying incidents to the police if there was a reasonable cause to believe that a crime was committed. In addition, the school districts would also be required to file an annual report with the attorney general’s office that identifies all possible incidents of bullying.
With Lori Swanson at the helm, Minnesota’s anti-bullying law appears to be heading for much-needed improvement.