Bullying Task Force Drafts Recommendations for New Law
Next week, Governor Dayton will get a look at recommendations for a new anti-bullying law.
The Task Force on the Prevention of Bullying compiled a 35-page document with its recommendations. State Senator Scott Dibble, DFL District 60, said of the recommendations "We have literally the weakest law on the books in the entire country, so probably the most important mission of the task force is to change and strengthen the state law."
The recommendations lay out a page-long definition of bullying, and also suggest that incidents of bullying be reported to the state and investigated.
Sen. Dibble explains, "Because a lot of kids aren't reporting what's happening to them, teachers don't know what to do or how to respond and there's no effective way of measuring what exactly is happening."
However, the recommendations have critics. Belle Plaine School District Superintendent Kelly Smith said of the broad definition of bullying, "That will create some training concerns that we have to make sure that people are interpreting bullying in the same manner."
He also said of the suggestion of tighter tracking, "I just want to make sure we are using our time to collect data that is in a usable format for somebody, that we're not just collecting data and reporting it, and that it will end up shelved somewhere and not utilized. So my concern is that we do have limited resources in terms of manpower and we want to make sure we are making the best use of the time we do have as we deal with these issues in our school."
The recommendations will be finalized on Monday. Governor Dayton will ultimately decide how to use the report in drafting new legislation or policies.