New anti-bullying law will require staff training in Northfield - Northfield MN: Local

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New anti-bullying law will require staff training in Northfield

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Richardson

Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2014 4:23 pm | Updated: 5:33 pm, Mon Apr 14, 2014.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is putting the smack down on bullies in Minnesota schools, starting in the 2014-15 school year.

On Wednesday, Governor Dayton signed a new anti-bullying law that will ensure districts across the state have consistent anti-bullying policies.

“It’s not only to provide the kind of academic excellence our young people are going to need, it’s to provide the kind of emotional, maturational experiences and guidance that they’re going to need to be successful in their lives, to be successful in this society, to be successful in this world,” Dayton said.

The law will also require every staff member, in every school district in Minnesota, to go through instructional training on how to spot bullying, stop it and report it, before the start of the 2014-15 school year.

“This really puts much better clarity on what bullying is and isn’t, “ said Northfield Superintendent Chris Richardson, “it’s more workable than the original plan.”

“Bullying is not isolated, it’s a repetitive act,” said Richardson, “its a real or perceived imbalance of power (between the bullier and the victim.)”

According to Richardson, it’s likely much of the training will take place during teacher workshops prior to the start of the school year next fall.

The additional training will take up time and of course, have a cost. The specifics of time and cost are yet to be determined, though.

“The training will help get everyone on the same page,” Richardson said.

The only place where the lines may blur are cases of cyber bullying, which don’t necessarily take place in the school, making it harder to chose a disciplinary path, explained Richardson.

Also new is that each school will require a staff member to be appointed as the go-to person for reported incidents of bullying. In Northfield, this appointed member will likely be a member of the administration.

The law will require districts to take action within three days of a reported incident, as well as keep records of every incident for future use, in order to provide the appropriate consequence.

According to Richardson, this shouldn’t be a problem in Northfield schools, as records are already kept of these incidents and timely actions is taken.

“We’re providing a safe environment right now,” he said.

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5 comments:

  • parentvoice posted at 1:17 pm on Sat, Apr 12, 2014.

    parentvoice Posts: 462

    There is an excellent commentary on bullying in the Star Trib entitled "How a good kid becomes a bully" by Faribault pastor Richard Jorgensen. Among the excellent points he makes is this: When a teacher shows that he or she dislikes a student in front of other students, it tacitly gives those other students permission to harrass, embarrass, pick on, or,…..bully…..the student the teacher doesn't like.

    This reinforces my suggestion--which was not made facetiously--that Northfield High (especially, but other schools too)--look at the issue of staff treatment of students as a way of lowering the overall incidence of bullying.

     
  • whatever posted at 1:15 pm on Fri, Apr 11, 2014.

    whatever Posts: 357

    "Bullying is not isolated, it's a repetitive act," said Richardson, "its a real or perceived balance of power (between the bullier and the victim.)" said Richardson

    Hopefully this school district will train STAFF including administration how NOT to bully students. My kids were bullied by admin personnel the whole time they were in the higher grades.

    They've dismissed one of the bigger bullies, however there are still at least two currently there.

     
  • maxwell posted at 7:50 am on Fri, Apr 11, 2014.

    maxwell Posts: 38

    parentvoice - I agree that the training needs to include anti-bullying of students by teachers but it needs to be done at ALL schools!

    An elementary teacher repeatedly and publicly humiliated and intentionally put down my student to the point that it has caused long term harm (my student frequently and painfully recalls what she did).

     
  • parentvoice posted at 6:55 am on Fri, Apr 11, 2014.

    parentvoice Posts: 462

    I support this bill. However, I do hope that the staff training at NMS and NHS in particular involve one or more sessions directed at staff bullying of kids. My kid experienced multiple episodes, and kids of friends do too. Kids are people too, and just because a teacher holds the power of a grade over the kid does not license them to verbally humiliate kids in front of classmates, threaten to fail them for minor infractions, etc.

     
  • Sparo73 posted at 4:59 am on Fri, Apr 11, 2014.

    Sparo73 Posts: 1214

    Once again we see positive leadership from our Democratic legislature working tirelessly to address difficult issues of today. This new legislation was needed and necessary to keep a safe environment in our schools for all of our children. It should have happened three years earlier when this legislation was first proposed. Unfortunately it was tabled (ignored) for more important legislation such as more gun rights, preventing gay marriages, and restricting voting rights for minorities.

    Thanks goes out to our local representatives David Bly and Kevin Dahle for their hard work. Keep it up.

     

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