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Press Release

April 24, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: PACER Center 952-838-9000, 800-53-PACER

Safe and Supportive Schools Act will protect students and help educators prevent bullying

Governor Mark Dayton signed the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act into law on April 9, 2014. Now, the important collaboration between students, educators, administrators, and parents begins as schools develop safer learning environments for every child in the state.

Julie Hertzog, Director of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, said, “Bullying has negatively impacted too many students for too long. Now that this law is in place, educators will have resources to address the behavior and students and families will know that they have the right to be safe at school.”

With the passage of this law, Minnesota can now offer schools and families the clarity and specific tools they need to move forward. Key elements of the act include:

Clear definitions: The act defines what behaviors and patterns of behavior are considered bullying (also known as “prohibited conduct”) in Minnesota schools, including behaviors that occur online.

Local policies: Districts can tailor bullying prevention policies to fit the unique needs of their communities.

Designated advocates: Each school will have a designated staff member for reports of bullying behavior.

Support for students: Schools will provide resources for those who are being bullied, implement restorative and responsive practices for those who engage in prohibited conduct, and educate all students on how to prevent and address bullying behavior.

Students with disabilities: Parents and teachers can work together to identify how students can respond to bullying – and how to prevent future instances of bullying – in the child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan.  

Additional support for schools: School districts will receive help in policy development and implementation from the School Safety Technical Assistance Center at the Minnesota Department of Education.

“PACER has been providing bullying prevention resources to families since 2002, and we are pleased to see that Minnesota is taking positive steps to protect our children,” said Paula Goldberg, PACER’s executive director. “Each and every student deserves to feel safe at school, and this law will help with that.”

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