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Backers of anti-bullying legislation rally at Capitol

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Hundreds of students urging Minnesota lawmakers to pass stricter anti-bullying legislation rallied in the Capitol rotunda Monday.

FOX 9 reports the gay rights advocacy group OutFront Minnesota joined with the Safe Schools for All Coalition to organize the rally in conjunction with a youth summit in St. Paul.

OutFront has made the bill called the Safe and Supportive Schools Act its priority at the Capitol this year. The group says students who are bullied are more likely to skip school or get sick and are nervous and distracted while they're at school.

One student at the Capitol rally told FOX "All students deserve to feel safe."

The bill would require all of the state's school districts to have a plan to reduce bullying, including written policies and a staff member in charge of enforcing them. Employees and volunteers would also have to be trained in how to identify bullying and how to resolve it.

The Minnesota School Boards Association is among those who have raised concerns about the bill. The school boards have noted the broad definition of bullying, the lack of an appeals process, and the cost of training staff and volunteers.

Last week the Fridley mother of a bullied fifth-grader who committed suicide in 2006 spoke out in opposition to the bill. In a message produced by the Minnesota Child Protection League, Kathy Trosvik says the bill would not really do anything to protect children who are bullied.


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