Minnesota Governor's Taskforce on Prevention of School Bullying Report Released
The Governor's Prevention of School Bullying Task Force released its final recommendations on Aug. 1, 2012 to the Governor. The 15 member task force began its work in March to study best practices and policies from literature and experts, analyze existing laws and policies, solicit input from the public and experts, define bullying/harassment/intimidation, and provide recommendations for policy initiatives to the Governor based upon its findings. Some key highlights of the report:
- Repeal of existing Minnesota laws and replacing them with stronger, more effective laws.
- Swift enactment of the recommendations to establish a more effective set of laws and policies.
- Definitions of "bullying" and "harassment" would include protected classes, such as children with disabilities.
- For students with IEPs or 504 plans that are victims, witnesses of bullying, or the bully themselves, it recommends that the IEP/504 plan include accommodations, goals, and other measures to address the bullying.
- Discouraging of inappropriate referrals to special education to address bullying.
- Cyber-bullying that includes those electronic forms to a school or school district, but would still interfere with a student's participation in a safe, supportive educational environment.
- Creation of a School Climate Center within the Minnesota Department of Education to provide information and technical support to school districts.
Overall, the report is very comprehensive and provides a strong foundation for stronger policies and laws to address bullying in our schools. For more information on AuSM’s position on addressing bullying and harassment in schools, click here.
Impact to Individuals/Families with ASD
Children with ASD are at a higher risk due to social skills and communication challenges. One study found that adolescents with ASD were four times more likely to be bullied than their peers without disabilities; up to 75% of children with Asperger’s Syndrome were bullied in this same study.
What You Can Do