Minnesota Senate Panel approves anti-bullying bill

According to the Family Equality Council, 93% of Minnesota school districts do not protect against bullying and harassment based on sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, and association with people who are targeted because of their sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.

A bill that would expand Minnesota schools’ anti-bullying policies by listing more than a dozen characteristics that could be targets for harassment is on its way to the Senate floor. The Senate Education Committee approved the bill March 31, on a split voice vote after hearing two days of testimony from students, parents and those representing school administrators.

Among the list of characteristics in the bill sponsored by Democratic Sen. Scott Dibble of Minneapolis are sexual orientation, socio-economic status, disability and national origin. The bill gives students and teachers who see bullying an additional tool, said Monica Meyer, public policy director for the gay rights group OutFront Minnesota.

“We really think that students are smart. If they’re being harassed, they can look at the policy and know that they can ask for help,” she said.