Getting to know Minnesota’s anti-bullying bill

AUSTIN, Minnesota – If you want to start a heated debate, mention the topic of bullying or laws dealing with it.

There is legislation right now in Minnesota to address the issue it’s called “The Safe and Supportive Schools Act.”

And it has many people speaking up.

Getting to know what is in a bill can take a lot of time and education.

Austin resident Alicianne Fritz is doing her part to get to know a certain one.

“That ignited the fire in me, and now I have read every line like thirty times and every single version on it,” said Fritz.

What bill?

The Safe and Supportive School Act in Minnesota.

It’s designed to give more protection to students who are being bullied.

But there are concerns, especially about privacy of those involved.

And for Fritz, she feels so far the legislators are listening to the people.

“I appreciate the changes they’ve made. I was concerned about parents not being notified. I was concerned about records held up at the state rather than a local level and they changed that I really appreciate that,” said Fritz.

But others say they still have a lot of questions.

Dale Witherington is the Founder of Restore Minnesota.

He feels the wording is all wrong in the bill.

“Number one, a culture shift for our Minnesota schools so the question has to be why the culture shift, what is the culture, and what does the culture shift have to do with bullying,” said Witherington.

Another concern he has?

Why the bill would establish more than 20 agencies.

He’s also upset two words in particular: “Objectively Offensive.”

He says deciding what’s offensive to one should not be decided by others.

“What may be objectively offensive to me, may not be objectively offensive to you and so a third party has got to come in and subjectively interpret and then subjectively implement what they believe the issues are,” said Witherington.

So whether people attending Tuesday night are for the bill or against, one thing is being shared.

That contacting your local legislator is key to get this bill passed, changed, or shut down.

For Fritz she’s quite happy with her community’s involvement with it all.

“My idea is that Austin is doing a great job and I want to get the word out. I want people to feel good about what Austin is already doing,” said Fritz.

The bill will be voted on in the senate finance committee Wednesday.

If passed, then it will be hitting the senate floor.

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