Students speak to MN legislators on importance of anti-bullying bill

Students speak to MN legislators on importance of anti-bullying bill

outfront.org

Blake students traveled to the capital on Presidents' Day to speak to legislators about the importance of an anti-bullying bill that will be introduced later this week.

Raine Robichaud, Contributing Writer

Blake students demonstrated their commitment to the anti-bullying cause at a recent Youth Summit at the Minnesota state capital on Presidents’ Day. The event was sponsored by the Minnesota Safe Schools Coalition, an organization that advocates for a more comprehensive anti-bullying law for Minnesota schools, known as the Safe and Supportive Minnesota School Bill.

The anti-bullying legislation currently in place in Minnesota is notably spare compared to that of other states: at a mere 37 words, it mandates schools to have anti-bullying regulations but doesn’t elaborate any further. The new bill, if passed, would provide standardized protocol for incidents of bullying, create a School Climate Center in the Department of Education that deals with bullying, and more.

“We need to provide teachers and students with more training and show people that bullying won’t be tolerated in our schools anymore,” says Alisha Litman Zelle ’13, a student who attended the rally.

Students and faculty members from both the upper and middle schools attended the event, where Litman Zelle, Rachel Hertzberg ’15, and Becca Farley ’15 heard from a variety of speakers including activist students who described the ways that they were confronting bullying in their own schools. In addition, the students “met with state representatives and senators to speak with them about the proposed anti-bullying legislation,” says Hertzberg.

Alisha had a chance to talk to Senator Terri Bonnoff. “I told her my story and asked her to support the bill, which she said she would,” says Litman Zelle, who emphasized the importance of communicating with the local government.

“It was a great experience to be able to meet my state representative, and view the process of lawmaking first hand,” Hertzberg reflects.

The Safe and Supportive Minnesota School Bill is to be introduced this week, and thanks to their work in convincing local leaders and voicing their support for the bill, these members of the Blake community have achieved much already. “Now,” concludes Litman Zelle, “we will wait and see if the bill gets passed!”

For more info on how you can get involved in making Minnesota schools safer, visit http://www.outfront.org/resources/safeschools.