Updated: 02/19/2014 5:54 PM
Created: 02/19/2014 4:50 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
Schools are cracking down on bullying, and Minnesota lawmakers are considering a bill on the issue again in the upcoming session. However, a new billboard in Hibbing urges them to vote it down, and it's causing some confusion and conversation among residents.
The message is hard to miss along First Avenue in downtown Hibbing. The billboard reads “Don't betray our children. Stop the bullying bill.” That is what the Child Protection League is asking of Senator David Tomassoni.
“A little bit provocative maybe, but the goal is to get people's awareness,” Michele Lentz, the group's state coordinator, said.
Lentz said 12 similar billboards will go up around the state aimed at other lawmakers, but fighting stronger rules against bullying didn't make sense to some parents in Hibbing.
“I'm just not understanding why they want to oppose it. Like they don't want that law?” Sara Lavalier said.
She is the mother of a 5-year-old boy and supports tougher state laws on bullying.
“To put a stop to it. I mean I have a child. I wouldn't want my child to go through that,” Lavalier said.
Supporters of the Safe and Supportive Schools Act will clearly define bullying, train students and teachers on the issue, and tell schools how to respond to bullying incidents. However that oversight will hurt schools that are already focused on bullying according to Lentz.
“School districts in Minnesota are independent, and this bill repeals all of those policies whether they're working or not,” Lentz said.
She also worries the bill doesn't mandate schools to inform parents of bullying if the omission is “...in the best interest of the student.” Still, the billboard was sending the wrong message to parents.
“Well what is it teaching everyone really? That it's okay to bully or to be bullied and not stand up for yourself? I don't agree with it,” Brita Moberg said.
Senate Hearings are expected on the bill in coming weeks, and Lentz hopes the billboards will get people talking in the meantime.
The Child Protection League isn't alone in opposing the bill. Every House Republican voted against it last year. The bill doesn't lack supporters though. The state's largest teachers' union, the Minnesota PTA, and gay rights groups all want it passed.
Industrial Fire Causes Severe Damage to Superior Building
Eyewitness News caught the scene of a hefty industrial fire around 11 p.m. Thursday night. The Superior Fire Dept. says the blaze was found inside a large metal building owned by AA Roll Off Service Inc. Damages are estimated at $250,000.
Special Report: Over the Limit, Under Arrest
A DWI... as many as 1 in 7 drivers have one. They also have a record... and the price tag to prove it. What will a DWI cost you?
Peterson Says 'Fresh Start' Might Be Best
Peterson tells the USA Today that he has strong support from coaches and players on the Vikings. But he also spoke about other people within the organization who aren't on his side. He tells the newspaper that it might be best "to get a fresh start somewhere else."
Duluth Airport Opens Enclosed Parking Garage, Skyway
Travelers used to parking outdoors at the Duluth International Airport are in for a change starting Friday morning when a new 4-level parking garage and glass-enclosed connecting skyway opens. Chilly temperatures in the Northland are exactly the kind of weather that has travelers excited...
PolyMet: What We're Working on Now
While the public waits for regulators to finish the environmental review for PolyMet, the company is keeping busy as well.