Over the past few years Minnesota has received national attention due to having one of the shortest and weakest bullying prevention laws in the country. It is only 37 words long, and doesn't define bullying or outline a process for how schools should handle it. Because of this many districts have set up different interpretations of the law, which has led to many students feeling unsafe and in some extreme cases, taking their own lives through suicide.
The recommendations for how the State Government should take action on this issue, provided by the 2012 School Bullying Prevention State Task Force could be shelved for the next 2-5 years, possibly longer, if the public doesn't continue to voice their support of immediate implementation.
The 2012 School Bullying Prevention Task Force outlined 7 main recommendations for the Governor and Legislature to take into account when dealing with providing schools help to combat bullying. The basic outline of what the Task Force has recommended is as follows:
"Through input from statewide listening sessions and expert testimony, as well as review of research and policy, the Task Force identified thematic concerns about how best to prevent bullying and assure Minnesota’s young people safe and supportive school environments so they can learn and succeed. The Task Force submits the following seven recommendations to the Governor and Legislature for further action.
1. Strong and Effective Minnesota Statute: Submit a bill to enact a strong, specific anti-bullying policy directive for school districts.
2. Supportive Schools: Encourage prevention education for all students, staff, family and community.
3. Student, Family and Community Engagement and Collaboration
4. Formative Interventions and Discipline: Encourage graduated, supportive, formative and restorative discipline, in addition to formal discipline.
5. State Agency Support to School Districts: Establish a cross-agency collaboration council and a School Climate Center at the Minnesota Department of Education to provide technical assistance to districts and communities.
6. Accountability and Data: Ensure accountability and monitoring of the state’s progress toward ensuring a safe learning environment for all students.
7. Funding for Effective Implementation."
The details of each recommendation can be found through the link listed below:
We need to show that as Minnesotans we have the ability to make the State School System a safer place for all students. Only by joining together can we accomplish this. Together we have the power to let students know we care. Together we can save lives. Together we can change.
We hope that you will take the 7 recommendations listed in the State Task Force's report and try and implement them within the next year throughout the schools in Minnesota. This will not only ensure that students feel their Government cares about their well being, but it will also set up possible legislation that will help protect students for years to come.
We are aware that taking the recommendations into consideration and implementing them will take time and many resources. However, if we don't invest our time and resources in our students, schools, and their safety, there will be no future for them to invest in when they reach adulthood.
We urge you to take action. We do not want this issue to be ignored, or put on a shelf for later consideration. Only together can we positively change the atmosphere in our schools. Together we can show students we care about their safety. Together we can make this happen. Together we can be the change Minnesota schools need.