Minnesotans Rally for Stronger Anti-Bullying Laws

Updated: 12/09/2013 10:40 PM
Created: 12/09/2013 7:00 AM
By: Jessica Miles

A Minnesota mom is disgusted with the type of text messages she says her 16-year-old daughter got anonymously on her phone.

They called her daughter "worthless" and went on to say "I dare you to hurt yourself," and "I hope you die tonight."

She says her daughter got the messages through an app that allows you to send anonymous messages.  She tried to figure out who they came from, but the phone numbers come back as New Jersey and Texas numbers.

She's convinced they are from another student, because they reference her daughter's history with suicide. She doesn't want her picture or name used, but says change needs to happen when it comes to bullying.

Supporters of a bill against bullying are taking the message across the state Monday. They will be visiting schools in three Minnesota cities, 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 Monday in St. Paul, Minneapolis and Duluth.

Supporters say the bill strengthens Minnesota’s bullying prevention laws, arguing that the current law is one of the weakest in the country.

The new bill would require school districts to create very specific policies for bullying or risk losing public funding. If passed, districts would have clear definitions of bullying, harassment and intimidation. 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.

Photo: MGN Online/The New Citizens Press

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