Give Minnesota's new bullying law a chance to work

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Minnesota Safe and Secure Schools Act has been passed by the Legislature, signed by Gov. Mark Dayton and is now state law. The act establishes structure and detailed definition of bullying behavior. “Bullying” means “intimidating, threatening, abusive, or harming conduct that is objectively offensive. …”

The act is specific in detail and defines the context for acts of bullying empowered by emerging technology. “Cyberbullying” means “bullying using technology or other electrocommunication, including, but not limited to, a transfer of a sign, signal, writing, image, sound or data, including a post on a social network Internet website or forum, transmitted through a computer, cell phone or other electronic device.”

The inclusion of technology in the definition of bullying is a valuable acknowledgment of the new world of student life facing parents and schools. Today’s student is attached to a cell phone, computer or iPad. The electronic sharing of thoughts, appropriate or not, is ubiquitous to our teens and young adults. The words are transmitted instantly, universally, and really can’t be erased.

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