Minnesota Senator Scott Dibble responds to Governor Tim Pawlenty’s hypocritical Bullying Prevention Week Proclamation after his veto of the Safe Schools for All bill

Minnesota Senator Scott Dibble responds to Governor Tim Pawlenty’s
hypocritical Bullying Prevention Week Proclamation after his veto
of the Safe Schools for All bill, which would have had a real
impact on students’ lives. Read Sen. Dibble’s press release

Family Equality Council will continue to work to pass this bill
into law to ensure that schools are safe for all students. Want to
get involved? Join the MN Safe Schools for All Coalition Facebook
and also sign the Safe Schools for All Pledge to show your
support safe schools and to stay informed.

Minnesota State Senate
NEWS RELEASEState Senator D. Scott Dibble
111 State Capitol
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul,MN 55155-1606
E-mail: sen.scott.dibble@senate.mn
Phone: 651-296-4191, cell: 612-327-3870October 1, 2009

Bullying Prevention Awareness Week sheds light on growing problem
Sen. Dibble: Minnesota missed opportunity to address issue in 2009
Minnesota Senator Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, joins advocates
and leaders in Minnesota to observe National Bullying Prevention
Awareness Week from Oct. 4-10. The week sheds light on an important
issue in the state’s schools, he said, but also highlights areas
that need improvement.

“Bullying is a real, detrimental challenge facing many of our
students each day they walk into their school buildings,” Sen.
Dibble said. “Harassment can impede concentration and fruitful
learning, and it fractures emotions and self-confidence that our
children need to succeed in life. As a supporter of anti-bullying
education and legislation, I am very proud of PACER and similar
organizations that are doing so much to recognize and find
solutions to the oft-unseen problem with a week of advocacy.”

Senator Dibble authored legislation in 2009 to enhance the
definition of bullying and expand protection and resources for
victims. Specifically, Senate File 971 would have put Minnesota’s
anti-bullying programs in line with the Minnesota Human Rights Act
to include race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex,
marital status, disability, socioeconomic status, sexual
orientation, gender identity or expression, and age. The Family Equity
found that many schools lack anti-bullying policies
that include provisions for all of these categories. Research shows
that inadequate laws and policies are the equivalent of having no
laws and policies in place.

Although Sen. Dibble worked closely with the Governor’s office to
develop legislation he agreed to sign, the Governor vetoed the

“I was extremely disappointed that Governor Pawlenty was
cynically willing to place his political ambitions ahead of the
safety and protection of our state’s youth by vetoing this
bill,” Sen. Dibble said. “He issued a simple proclamation to
recognize National Bullying Week, but he ignored a real chance to
stand up for our youth and finally change Minnesota’s ineffective
law. Bullying is a very serious, growing problem that needs to be
addressed now, not tomorrow. I’m very worried that the
Governor’s actions delayed Minnesota’s progress on tackling
this issue. Meanwhile kids will suffer real harm.”

Senator Dibble said he expects to return to the Capitol in 2010
with renewed efforts to enhance anti-bullying education,
harrassment prevention and support resources for victims. He said
the need for such legislation was illustrated this summer, when two
Anoka-area teachers were accused of making inappropriate comments
about a student’s perceived sexual orientation. Earlier this
year, in highly publicized cases, two 11 year old boys committed
suicide as a result of the treatment they endured.

“These are high-profile examples of why we need more education
about the various forms of bullying and what it can do to a
student’s well being,” Sen. Dibble said. “However, there are
much more low-profile cases of victimization that happen every day,
and often times students don’t tell anyone about those instances.
We need to send a message of support to those that are confronted
with these situations, and a message of intolerance to those who
engage in the harrassing behavior. I hope Minnesotans will join me
in recognizing the problem occuring in too many of our schools and
stand up for enhanced anti-bullying measures, education and

National Bullying Prevention Awareness Week is sponsored by the
Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (PACER) Center’s
National Center for Bullying Prevention, and cosponsored by the
American Federation for Teachers, National Coalition for Parent
Involvement in Education, National Education Association, and
School Social Work Association of America.