Supporters of Stronger State Bullying Law Rally in Duluth

Created: 12/09/2013 10:50 PM

Supporters of a stronger anti-bill took their message across Minnesota Monday.

They visited schools in three Minnesota cities  Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth  trying to drum up online support for the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act.

The bill was passed in the House last session, but it was pulled in the Senate because some Republicans said they would filibuster the bill for up to 10 hours, right when time in the session was running out.

The next legislative session starts in a couple of months, and supporters want to get the message to lawmakers.

OutFront Minnesota, Education Minnesota and other members of the coalition, hosted the rallies, including one at Myers-Wilkens Elementary in Duluth.

Supporters say the bill strengthens Minnesota's bullying prevention laws. They argue that at 37 words long, the current law is one of the weakest in the country.

"The bill clearly defines what bullying is and gives teachers and administrators the resources they need to address bullying when it comes up," said Elise Coffin, local youth organizer for OutFront Minnesota. "Every child deserves a safe school and we have to fight for it."

The new bill would require school districts to create very specific policies for bullying or risk losing public funding.

Schools would work with parents and students on their rules. They would also have to investigate all bullying complaints and keep detailed records of those concerns.

Some Republicans say these decisions should be left up to school boards. Others argue that the policies could force values and beliefs on parents and students.

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