MN Safe Schools for All Bill Heads to Governor–Call Now!

In bipartisan votes, the Minnesota House and Senate have now passed
the “Safe Schools for All Bill,” which clarifies existing bullying
and harassment laws to fully protect all Minnesota students,
including children with LGBT parents.

The bill now goes to Governor Tim Pawlenty, who has
fourteen days to sign or veto it.
The governor needs to
hear from all Minnesotans about the importance of safe schools as
there is a chance he could veto the bill. Call his office at (651)
296-3391 or
toll free at (800) 657-3717.

Here’s a sample message: I urge Governor
Pawlenty to sign the “Safe Schools for All” Bill
into law. Every student deserves the right to a safe learning
environment free from bullying and harassment.

Read our press release on the House and Senate votes below.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Monica Meyer, Public Policy Director, OutFront Minnesota,
612-822-0127 x 115,
Dustin Kight, Communications Manager, Family Equality Council,
617.502.8700 x 228,
Steve Larson, Public Policy Director, Arc of Minnesota,
651-523-0823 x 115,

Safe Schools for All Bill Heading to Governor
Leading safe schools advocates call on Gov. Pawlenty to sign the

Saint Paul, MN – The Minnesota House has passed
the “Safe Schools for All” Bill by a bipartisan vote of 95-39.
The Senate re-passed the bill in a bipartisan vote of 46-8. The
bill now goes to Governor Tim Pawlenty who has fourteen days to
sign or veto it. With alarming statistics coming out of the U.S.
Department of Education about the percentages of children
nationwide facing bullying in their schools and the recent
bullying-induced suicides of at least two children in Massachusetts
and Georgia, Minnesotans call on Governor Pawlenty to protect
Minnesota’s youth by signing this bill.

The Safe Schools for All Bill is supported by more than 35
community groups led by Family Equality Council and OutFront
Minnesota. The coalition includes Arc of Minnesota and PACER Center
(organizations serving people with disabilities), Confederation of
Somali Community, Education Minnesota (state’s largest teachers’
union), Minnesota PTA, Minnesota School Social Workers Association,
Minnesota School Counselors Association, and Family and Children’s
Service. The states two principals associations, the Minnesota
Elementary School Principals’ Association and the Minnesota
Association of Secondary School Principals, and the Minnesota
School Boards Association all supported the final version of the

“As a result of the passage of this legislation, students with
disabilities across the state will benefit greatly,” said Steve
Larson, Public Policy Director of Arc of Minnesota. “The training
required as part of the legislation is essential because not all
students with disabilities are able to report when they are a
victim of bullying or harassment. This legislation will give
students with disabilities an opportunity to be fully included in
their school environment.”

The bill clarifies existing laws governing Minnesota schools, which
do not provide sufficient guidance to on how to protect students.
The bill brings schools’ anti-bullying policies in line with the
Minnesota Human Rights Act, which expressly protects against
discrimination based on disability, national origin, sexual
orientation, gender identity/expression, and seven other key
categories. Contrary to the claims of the bill’s opponents, it
applies to and protects all Minnesota students.

“The Minnesota legislature did justice by Minnesota students
today, voting in favor of the “Safe Schools for All” bill, and I
thank the members who voted for it,” said Monica Meyer, Public
Policy Director at OutFront Minnesota. “It falls now to our
Governor to ensure that thousands of students no longer have to
fend for themselves in schools. I hope the Governor will consider
these students as he thinks about the legacy he wants to leave as
leader of our great state.”

Added Stephanie Hazen, National Training & Advocacy Manager at
Family Equality Council’s St. Paul Office, “As the mother of a
five-year-old, I’m alarmed by the lack of protections in bullying
and harassment policies in Minnesota schools. This is not a
partisan issue. It’s about keeping kids safe at school. I thank
the House and Senate members who voted for the Safe Schools for All
bill. I urge Governor Pawlenty to sign it into law. My message to
Governor Pawlenty: Don’t play politics with our kids—protect

About Arc of Minnesota
The Arc of
is a private, non-profit, statewide voluntary
organization. The mission of The Arc of Minnesota is to support and
advocate for people with intellectual and other developmental
disabilities and their families as they choose how they live,
learn, work and play. We fight for persons with developmental
disabilities so they can reach for a brighter, more inclusive

About OutFront Minnesota
’s mission is to make our state a place where GLBT
Minnesotans have the freedom, power, and confidence to make the
best choices for their own lives. Leading Minnesota Toward GLBT
Equality. Celebrating our 22nd year.

About the Family Equality Council
The Family Equality Council works to ensure equality for LGBT
families by building community, changing hearts and minds, and
advancing social justice for all families. The Family Equality
Council’s Midwest Office is located in St. Paul, Minnesota. For
more information visit