St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) - A bill designed to beef up anti-bullying laws in Minnesota schools cleared another hurdle today, following a vote on the House floor Monday.
The Senate Education Committee approved the bill, sending what's dubbed the 'Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act' to the Senate floor for discussion.
The author, Senator Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis), says the legislation, which essentially requires schools to adopt policies to prevent bullying, has been a long time coming.
Implementing this policy in schools across the state would cost taxpayers $20 million a year.
Those in opposition say the measure doesn't provide the right tools, instead just giving a mandate.
The committee heard testimony from one parent whose son was bullied in school, saying the child's emotional pain became unbearable.
"On October 22nd 2006, he brought a gun and ended his life behind our pool barn," said Ann Gettis, mother of Jeremiah, to the committee as she broke down in tears.
"Having been bullied myself as a kid, I am definitely passionate about kids treating each other with dignity and respect, but this bill does not have all the answers," said Angela Shaughnessy, a parent.
Provisions in the bill include training on policy to staff and volunteers, designating staff in each building to receive formal complaints about bullying and offering remedial responses to incidents.