Education has been a core value throughout Jewish tradition, so JCA was proud to support the passing of Safe Schools legislation, which makes schools more effective places to learn by strengthening policies against bullying and harassment.
Bullying in schools severely impacts children’s ability to take full advantage of their educational opportunities. Bullying is linked to high numbers of student absences, suspensions, drop-outs, and mental health struggles. Students cannot learn when they do not feel safe, respected, and valued. School should be a place where students don’t have to worry about abuse from their peers, and can instead spend their time learning and gaining the skills and confidence that they will need in their future careers and pursuits.
Previously, Minnesota has the weakest anti-bullying law in the country. (2011 report from the U.S. Department of Education) requiring school districts to have anti-bullying policies, but does not specifying what the policy should say or what should be done to prevent bullying. The Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act would establish clear definitions of bullying, harassment, and intimidation, create protections for students who are most likely to be bullied or harassed, and make anti-bullying training and resources available for students, staff, and school volunteers. In addition to providing specific definitions and requirements to address bullying, the law established a School Safety and Technical Assistance Center, that will assist schools and provide resources for training and skill building.
Passing this legislation was a combined effort between several key legislators, members of Governor Dayton's Task Force on the Prevention of Bullying, JCA's partners in the Minnesota Safe Schools for All Coalition, led by Outfront Minnesota, who were committed to to ensuring a safe and supportive environment for all Minnesota students to learn.
Learn more about the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act, and the problem of bullying in Minnesota schools.