Minnesota Anti-bullying bill picks up steam in Hermantown

By KBJR News 1

February 22, 2014 Updated Feb 22, 2014 at 8:12 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - In a 2010 Minnesota Student Survey, 13 percent of students reported being bullied once a week or more.

That was followed in 2011 by a report from the U.S. Department of Education, which rated the state's current anti bullying law the weakest in the nation.

At Hermantown Middle School Saturday Northlanders were invited to learn more about a bill that, if passed, would strengthen current bullying laws.

Proponents of the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act say the bill would help prevent bullying by better defining it.

The bill would also provide bullying prevention training and resources for school staff and students, which East High School Sophomore Falcon Correll says can only help those targeted by harassment.

"Everything just kind of hit and I got insanely depressed because I didn't know like where to go or where to get help, and I think with this bill it will give students that were in the same situation as me... the resources they need," said Correll, at the event.

" Even if you know you are bullied you should know that you have a safe palce to turn to at least," said Out Front Minnesota volunteer Stefan Heikel, whose organization coordinated the event.

The bill would also aim to reduce absences, suspensions and drop out rates, which proponents say would save taxpayers money.

The Safe Schools Act includes $1 million to hire employees, and help school districts implement the bill if passed.

Billy Wagness