WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) -- Recently I have been hearing a lot of noise about a new anti bullying law introduced in the Minnesota Legislature. The new law seems to have raised a bit of controversy, some say the law goes way beyond what is needed, and others say it doesn’t go far enough.
I have read the original law, all 37 words of it, and I have to wonder how could such a simple, but vague bill ever get into law? Here is the text of the current bill: 121A.0695 SCHOOL BOARD POLICY; PROHIBITING INTIMIDATION AND BULLYING.
Each school board shall adopt a written policy prohibiting intimidation and bullying of any student. The policy shall address intimidation and bullying in all forms, including, but not limited to, electronic forms and forms involving Internet use.
At first glance this seems fairly reasonable. But, after thinking about it, the first thing that came to mind was — what makes anyone think that over 400 school districts have the expertise to put together a written policy to fully address the issue of bullying? I would like to think our school board and probably most school boards in the state are run by very intelligent people including community leaders from all walks of life.
Never the less, some boards may come up with fairly comprehensive policies that would address the matter. However I feel the issue of bullying warrants professional guidance in writing a policy that includes a broad description of bullying as well as a clear policy relating to how bullying is to be reported and how remedies are to be applied.
This matter is important enough to be addressed by more than a 37 word law. It is unfortunate that we cannot just rely on common sense in handling bullying, but this issue is much more complex and guidelines should be set up on a state wide basis.
Even though the law is 11 pages long, if it were put in true paragraph form it would probably be at least four pages shorter. Also if the parts that really don’t pertain to bullying, such as a page about school performance report cards and school climate council, it would be reduced even further.
With all of that, it sounds like districts are supposed to come up with their own written policies as before, but the new law should make that somewhat easier as it provides a lot of information about types of bullying as well as how it should be dealt with.
Even though in the grass roots of Minnesota, we would rather solve these problems by a good measure of common sense, however, in some cases common sense may not always remedy the situation in a fair and impartial way.
So in the end I hope that these problems will be figured out so no student has to suffer from bullying. The consequences of not addressing the issue properly can be terribly disastrous and can lead to extremes of dropping out of school and in the worst case suicide.
So making fun of the law is probably not a good way to look at it.
I am sure a lot of us were bullied at one time or another, and it can carry over into adulthood and the workplace. So perhaps if we can handle these problems when children are in their formative years our world can become a better place for everyone.
Have a great week and do good!
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