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.
Spectators Witness Athlete Triumph at Cable IPC Championships
Competition got underway Saturday morning in Cable, Wisconsin for the International Paralympic Committee World Championships starting with the standing and visually impaired biathlon...
Michigan Officials: New Cases of White-Nose Syndrome in Bats Found
State officials say they've received the first reports this winter of Michigan bats dying from white-nose syndrome. Dead bats have been found outside an abandoned copper mine near Mohawk in the Upper Peninsula's Keweenaw County.
Wisconsin Mine Protester Gets Nine Months in Jail
A woman accused of disrupting mine workers in northern Wisconsin as she protested Gogebic Taconite's mining plans has been sentenced to nine months in jail.
Warm Temps Make Mushing Difficult in Beargrease
Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon supporters were out at Black Bear Casino Friday night to kick off the week of race events.
Volunteers Ready Cable for IPC World Championship Kickoff
For the first time in history, Cable, Wisconsin is playing host for the International Paralympic Committee's Nordic World Championships. The scene in Cable for the next week will be reminiscent of winter games in Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014. This time though, it's Cable's turn to hold the torch...