Anti-Bullying Policies, How Duluth Schools Match-Up

By KBJR News 1

May 16, 2011 Updated May 16, 2011 at 10:43 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter/MPR) - Thirty-seven words are written into Minnesota law about bullying. It's one of the shortest state laws on the subject in the nation, leaving defining and handling bullying to individual school districts.

Our partners at Minnesota Public Radio conducted a six-month investigation and found the weak law creates a patchwork of policies across the state.

MPR reports three out of four school districts closely follow the suggested model policy that fills some of the law's gaps, such as defining bullying, and providing a process for reporting and investigating it, but even that policy has shortfalls when it comes to cyber-bullying and getting resources to help the bully.

Duluth's anti-bullying policy is in its school discipline policy. Though it has a definition, it doesn't list bullying behaviors. It has no process to investigate bullying and no process to refer victims and bullies to counseling and other services. There's also no plan for parental notification.

However, it does include training, consequences and addresses cyber-bullying.

"We actually found in our research that a third of the districts, about one-third, throughout the whole state actually don't make reference to cyber-bullying within their bullying policy," said Tom Weber, an MPR education reporter.

You can find the full radio series about Minnesota's anti-bullying laws on "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" through Wednesday on 100.5 FM.

Posted to Web by Jena Pike