The Task Force on the Prevention of School Bullying completed its work this month and released a full report on its findings and recommendations on Wednesday. Governor Mark Dayton established the task force in February. Since then, task force members considered written and public comments from students, parents, and citizens as well as professionals in relevant fields throughout the state and nation. MREA strongly agrees that schools provide a safe and welcoming environment for each student and will be seeking member input at the Fall Area Meetings regarding the report’s specific recommendations, including:
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.
8. Fiscal resources must be made available at the state and local levels to facilitate these efforts.