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Letter to the Editor: State has duty to make schools safe from bullying

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As the Bulletin reported recently, the Education Policy committee, one of my six committees, heard testimony on the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act. This act would require schools to implement bullying prevention programs that would be effective in the schools, on the buses and on the Internet.

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While only some of us on the committee, including myself, voted for the passage of this particular bill, everyone on the committee understands the severe bullying problems that affect our schools. Minnesota has some of the weakest bullying laws in the country, with only 37 words of state policy addressing the issue. The Legislature is pushing to change this; we must make sure school officials have the guidelines and resources to deal with the bullying problem. We have included in this bill the ability for schools to apply for state grants to help with the cost that comes with implementing these programs.

This act is an important step in the right direction. We understand that no law will completely prevent bullying within our schools, but we have the duty as a state to make sure our children have a safe learning environment. Our goal is to minimize the number of students afraid to go to school, and this bill starts us down that path.

Sen. Susan Kent

Kent, a Woodbury Democrat, represents Senate District 53

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