Minnesota legislature has put in place a new anti-bullying law that replaces a previous one, which was thought to be ineffective.
There was some struggle in getting this law approved but this Wednesday Governor Mark Dayton held an outdoor ceremony to sign the bill, which toughens Minnesota’s stance against bullying. The bill was passed overnight.
Supporters believe it will provide a safer learning environment for children, while critics argue that it will put more kids to punishment for expressing religious beliefs or engaging in youthful behavior.
The bill requires school districts to track and investigate cases of bullying and directs schools to better train staff and teachers on how to prevent it. Current law requires school districts to have a bullying policy but doesn’t include details on what the policy should contain.
During Tuesday’s debate, critics of the bill called it a one size fits all big government solution.
“If my grandkids are having a problem, call their mom and dad, call me. We’ll take care of the problem,” said Rep. Michael Beard (R-Shakopee). “We’ll make sure an apology is issued, and if they are being bullied, we’ll take care of that, too.”
The new law goes into effect for the 2014-15 school year.
Minnesota is not the only state to have pushed through anti-bullying law. States such as New Jersey, Maine, New York, California, and others have set anti-bullying laws in place.