A North Dakota law positioned as an alternative to the Safe Schools Act during the Minnesota legislature's debate on curbing bullying is yielded little change in school bullying, a new survey of students reveals.
The Grand Forks Herald's Patrick Springer reports in North Dakota survey shows little progress on bullying:
North Dakota has yet to show that it has turned a corner on school bullying two years after a law required each district to have a plan aimed at curbing the problem.
Officials say it will take more time for the law to show results in addressing the age-old problem of bullying, both at school and online, a troublesome behavior that has been creeping up in recent years, according to a survey.
One in four North Dakota high school students – 25.4 percent – reported they were bullied at school in 2013, and 17.1 percent said they were bullied online, according to a risk behavior survey.
Two years earlier, in 2011, 24.9 percent of high school students reported they were bullied at school, and 17.4 percent said they were bullied electronically, including social media.
One reason the survey has been used to measure the effectiveness of the legislation? Spring reports:
The North Dakota Legislature passed a law in 2011 requiring each school district to have a plan in place by July 1, 2012, to address bullying, including a way for students to anonymously report bullying incidents. . . .
Each district has complied, according to the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, but the law did not include a way of measuring the program’s results by tracking trends.
Lawmakers rejected a monitoring provision in the anti-bullying bill because they did not want to create a burdensome reporting requirement and did not want to interfere with local control, Fischer said.
That leaves the biennial survey, completed by schools comprising 84 percent of the state’s high school students, as the best measuring stick, she said. . . .
That situation is a far cry from what Republicans opposed to Minnesota's Safe Schools law described. In April, Minnesota Public Radio's Tom Post reported in Minn. Senate passes anti-bullying bill:
Republican senators unsuccessfully proposed substituting their own version, a move that failed twice before when the bill was working its way through Senate committees.
Republican Sen. Carla Nelson of Rochester said the GOP's anti-bullying law was simpler, less expensive and proven to work.
"It's an alternative that has been tested in North Dakota. It's rated as one of the top three inclusive anti-bullying bills in the nation. It has been implemented successfully and members; it is non-controversial," Nelson said.
Following passage in the Minnesota Senate and House, the Safe Schools bill was signed into law by Governor Dayton.
Perhaps Senator Nelson will propose that we dispense with all forms of monitoring and measuring the impact of any piece of legislation, and simply declare that it's all good.
Photo: Senator Carla Nelson (R-Rochester), who wants anti-bullying plans but no monitoring to see is anything changes. Splendid. Photo via Minnesota Senate.
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