Groups plan rallies to bolster Minnesota's anti-bullying law


Groups in St. Paul and Duluth plan on holding rallies Monday in an effort to bolster the state's anti-bullying law, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

The rallies are being sponsored by the gay and lesbian advocacy group OutFront Minnesota, and Education Minnesota's Safe Schools Coalition.

OutFront Minnesota said its "Safe & Supportive School Rally" will be held at Meyers-Wilkins School Gymnasium in Duluth, while the Safe School Coalition's rally will be at Central High School in St. Paul.

Both groups were scheduled to rally this past Sunday at South High School in Minneapolis, the Star Tribune reported.

The Pioneer Press said the House passed the bill in May by a 72-57 vote, but the Senate version hit a snag.

According to MPR, Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis), who authored the Senate version of the bill, pulled it from consideration near the end of the session. Dibble made the decision since GOP lawmakers were prepared the filibuster it for 10 hours, which would have tied up the remaining hours of the session.

Dibble, however, vowed the bill would return in 2014.

MPR said the state's anti-bullying law, which is only 37 words long, is considered by some as the weakest in nation. The law only requires districts to have an anti-bullying policy, but doesn't define bullying.

Proponents of a revised law want an extensive definition of bullying, and want school districts to track and investigate instances of bullying. The bill also required that teachers be trained in bullying prevention.

The Pioneer Press said the bill would have set aside $1 million for a social climate center run by the Minnesota Department of Education, which would have helped schools in the development of anti-bullying policies.

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The Star Tribune reports more than 75 students demanding change wore stickers and held signs encouraging lawmakers to improve Minnesota's anti-bullying law. The state's current law is considered one of the weakest in the nation with only 37 words. There are two proposals being considered to amend it.

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