Prevention of Bullying Task Force Delivers Recommendations to Governor Dayton – August 1, 2012

/ 1 August 2012 / eunice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Keith Hovis, MDE, 651.582.8275(o); 651.308.2252(c);

After months of meetings and community sessions gathering input from residents across the state, the Task Force for the Prevention of Bullying submitted recommendations to Governor Dayton today.

“Every student deserves to feel safe and supported at school,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Education and task force member Brenda Cassellius. “The task force, informed by the courageous voices of students and experts across the state, has yielded recommendations that will help create positive learning environments where students can thrive.”

Created by Executive Order, the group was tasked with crafting recommendations for ensuring all students in Minnesota schools are provided with a safe and welcoming environment to learn.

The final report consists of eight recommendations to the Governor for immediate and urgent action:

1. Repeal existing, ineffective statutes, and replace with stronger law based upon the Task Force’s recommendations.
2. Adopt the recommended operational definitions pertaining to bullying, harassment, and intimidation to increase effective identification and response to these issues.
3. Establish baseline policies within every school district that emphasize the equal, strong protection of all students.
4. Create policies and practices that enhance communication between school personnel, students, parents, and communities on the subject of strategies and techniques to reduce bullying.
5. Create a uniform, baseline data collection system regarding bullying issues to facilitate monitoring of these issues.
6. Create interagency and interdepartmental collaborations within the State of Minnesota to assist schools in their anti-bullying efforts.
7. Create a “School Climate Center” within the Minnesota Department of Education to:
a. Provide information and assistance to schools in their anti-bullying efforts
b. Improve safe-learning spaces for students, school-wide
c. Increase discipline, with a focus on remediation in all cases of bullying, harassment, or
8. 8) Fiscal resources must be made available at the state and local levels to facilitate these efforts, as outlined by the Task Force.

Department of Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey said, “These recommendations are the result of the Governor’s leadership and the entire Minnesota community coming together to support our youth. We can no longer tolerate harassment, intimidation and bullying in any form in our schools. I look forward to when we will have legislation capable of helping keep our children happy, healthy and safe.”

The Governor’s Task Force for the Prevention of Bullying is comprised of 15 members, including, the Commissioners of the Department of Education, the Department of Human Rights and members of the legislature. Governor Dayton also appointed additional members with experience or expertise in psychology, education, pediatrics and anti-bullying advocacy.

With the completion of their recommendations, the Task Force will now work with Governor Dayton and the Legislature to pass legislation that will best serve Minnesota students.

Read the Bullying Task Force final report with recommendations.