MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Anti-bullying groups held rallies in St. Paul and Duluth Monday to jump start efforts to pass a new statewide anti-bullying law.
Minnesota law already requires all schools to have an anti-bullying policy, but critics say it’s too vague.
At Central High School in St. Paul, Della Kurzer-Zlotnick told a rally she was bullied as a 7th grader after a classmate discovered her parents are lesbians.
“I was completely paralyzed with fear,” said Kurzer-Zlotnick, now a senior. “I thought that if I did anything to get on her bad side, she would tell the rest of the students.”
Rallies across the state Monday were calling for a new anti-bullying law to replace Minnesota’s short, 37 word statutes — one they said is among the weakest in the nation.
A new law would include detailed definitions of bullying, require schools to teach staffers how to see it and stop it, and investigate all reported cases.
However, opponents of the proposed bullying law say it is too vague, too intrusive and too expensive.
State Senator Roger Chamberlain, who says he was bullied as a student, says it could cost Minnesota school districts as much as $25 million a year to implement and enforce. He says a “one size fits all” statewide law isn’t an effective way to stop bullying.
“There always going to be some of this. We’re never going to get rid of all of it and to think that we’re going to get rid of all of it is Orwellian,” said Chamberlain, a Republican from Lino Lakes.
The Minnesota Legislature failed to pass an anti-bullying bill in 2013, but it’s expected to come up again in 2014.