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State Board of Education's Statement on Anti-Bullying Legislation

Contact: Martin Ackley, Director of Communications (517) 241-4395
Agency: Education

November 8, 2011
 
LANSING - The bi-partisan State Board of Education today unanimously adopted the following statement regarding pending legislation in the Michigan Legislature that would create a state law requiring schools to adopt and implement anti-bullying policies:
 
"Given the devastating and often tragic consequences of bullying in our schools, and in recognition that a safe and secure climate for learning can and must be created in every Michigan school - the State Board of Education has, on a bi-partisan basis since 2000, asked Michigan schools to adopt and implement an effective, research-informed model anti-bullying policy and practice.  
We reiterated that call and updated our policy recommendation in November 2010.  Joined by our Superintendent of Public Instruction, the State Board of Education vigorously advocated for complementary state legislation that will put clear priority on creating a safe environment for learning in Michigan schools.

We welcomed Governor Snyder's call in his April 2011 Education Message that comprehensive anti-bullying legislation be passed this year; and appreciate the leadership in the Michigan House and Senate seeking to pass a comprehensive and meaningful anti-bullying law.

To be effective, state anti-bullying legislation must include critical elements, consistent with the State Board's model policy for districts:  

  • Engage the full school staff and school community in education, communication, appropriate training and action around bullying behavior and its prevention;
  • Have mechanisms for reporting; and sanctions for schools, school districts, and personnel  who do not nurture a positive environment that includes zero tolerance for bullying;
  • Make a clear and unambiguous statement that all students be protected from bullying; and that no license is created (wittingly or unwittingly) that condones or accommodates bullying.
We strongly urge the Legislature and the Governor to work towards final anti-bullying policy and legislation that ensures students are free from threat, intimidation, and harassment that will be fair, clear and effective."
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