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..Well, Minnesota has a law, not much of one, but they are graded a C-     They require schools to have a policy, but there's no accountability and no date set to have that policy in place.  Pretty lame.  The only good thing is that they DO include cyberbullying.  Below the law, Judy Kuczynski, President of Bully Police USA, writes about the Minnesota School Boards Association's Policy on bullying and harassment.

MINNESOTA
C-

H.F. No. 504,  as introduced - 85th Legislative Session (2007-2008)   Posted on Jan 31, 2007

A bill for an act relating to education; prohibiting electronic and Internet intimidation and bullying;amending Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 121A.0695.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1. Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 121A.0695, is amended to read:
121A.0695 SCHOOL BOARD POLICY; PROHIBITING INTIMIDATION AND BULLYING.

Each school board shall adopt a written policy prohibiting intimidation and bullying of any student. The policy shall address intimidation and bullying in all forms, including, but not limited to, electronic forms and forms involving Internet use.
 

In July of 1993, the Minnesota School Boards Association prepared a policy prohibiting harassment and violence. it has been touted as a flagship policy in the US and other states have been encouraged to follow Minnesota's example (Fried & Fried, 1996). However, this policy is sadly lacking in definitions and provisions for emotional violence also known as peer harassment, peer abuse, and emotional violence. The point is that the policy specifically defines and outlines harassment and violence involving sexual, racial, gender, political, and religious harassment. There are no provisions for emotional abuse.

When our daughter was surrounded by older girls and spit on in the girls room while at the prom, nothing was done despite the fact that we reported it. The girls denied it and so did witnesses except for the girl who told us about it. She was a friend of our other daughter, Tina's older sister and the school said it was the friend's word against the other three and un named witnesses. Sitting was not considered to be a threat.
We found that the school was hardly interested or concerned about the hell our daughter was going through even when  a bomb was drawn on her locker with the words "You are mine." They questioned students who denied their involvement or knowledge of the involvement of others. It wasn't until a bomb exploded in our mailbox that the school took action. At that time they questioned the ones we caught. These students denied that we were targeted and stated they were just experimenting and that the incident was an unfortunate coincidence. That was good enough for the school. A campaign began (by her classmates) to punish her for her parents reporting the incident to the sheriff! We did not press charges. The county brought charges against them. However, we did testify. The parents of the accused bombers sent word to us  through the county attorney that "Tina was a cry baby and you are over-reacting."

Our daughter survived. She left high school and went to the community college where she made many wonderful friends and thrived. But she was killed in a car accident the day before Thanksgiving in what would have been her senior year. It doesn't appear that the school system learned anything from the experience. They certainly did not try to reach out to us. They were always extremely concerned about the rights of those we suspected were involved in harassing her. Their "interventions" only intensified the harassment she was experiencing.

I don't know how to fix this problem. I'm not sure that laws can be written to reflect the kinds of assault, the intensity and viciousness of the harassment she experienced. Teachers ignored it, didn't see it, or dismissed it. Administration did not believe it. School counselors advised us to home school her but they did not discuss the problem with school administration. It seems that everyone's "hand were tied." If I sound frustrated, its because I am. Teachers have dismissed my concerns because I "sound angry." From what I have witnessed with my three kids, this kind of harassment is far more prevalent than the 30 percent reported by the National Resource Center for Safe Schools (NRCSS). It is so common and such a part of youth culture that kids often don't realize that what they have witnessed or received is harassment. It is so sophisticated that teachers are unaware of it often when it happens under their noses. Besides the shame that is attached to it there is also a powerful code of silence. This code effects adults (including parents) as well as young people. Only those desperate enough and dumb enough to believe that adults can and will do something about it are willing to report it. Until people know the truth about peer harassment, it will be difficult to turn things around.

Submitted by Judy Kuczynski, President of Bully Police USA, Inc.

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