The Senate Education Committee will be hearing testimony tomorrow on Senator Kim Gillan’s Schools Are for Safe Education Act (SB 141) and I urge you to contact your legislator to let her know that this bill offers a sensible, necessary set of guidelines and protections for Montana students.
The bill requires that every school district develop a policy that not only prohibits bullying, but offers a clear procedure to define bullying, investigate it , and respond to the threats and intimidation that prevent students from learning. Additionally, to reduce the burden on local school districts, the bill requires the Office of Public Instruction to develop a model policy, one that districts could easily adopt.
I think there is a temptation to dismiss the impact of bullying, to think that it is a normal part of growing up that need not be legislated. I’d suggest that if you believe this, you weren’t subject to the kind of bullying that can occur in schools today. It’s frequently unbelievably cruel, pervasive, and often, because of electronic communication, unescapable.
This is an absolutely sensible bill that preserves the freedom of individual districts to develop policies that work for their communities. It will reduce legal liability, protect student safety, and improve the academic and social environment of schools.
Please urge the members of the Senate Education Committee to send this bill to the full Senate.