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A bill offered by Rep. Pat Garofalo, a Republican from Farmington, would exempt a large number of school districts from the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act, a comprehensive and LGBT-inclusive anti-bullying bill passed in 2014.

House File 102 would change the safe schools act by exempting school districts from the law if they already have an existing anti-bullying policy. The only criteria is that the policy must protect all students. Here’s the language:

(c) This section does not apply to a home school under sections 120A.22,
1.22subdivision 4, and 120A.24, or a nonpublic school under section 123B.41, subdivision 9,
1.23or a public school located in a school district that has adopted a written bullying policy
2.1under Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 121A.0695, that protects all students served by
2.2the school district.

OutFront Minnesota’s executive director Monica Meyer told supporters in an email on Tuesday that the bill, if passed, would weaken the safe schools law:

Yesterday, in the Minnesota State House of Representatives a bill was introduced that would weaken the Safe & Supportive Schools law.

HF 102 would allow any district that passes a policy with apparently any content, provided that it applies to all students, to short-circuit the entire safe-schools structure the legislature passed last year. If this were to become law, it would allow a district to pay lip service to the concept of bullying prevention while doing nothing to protect kids or build a safe and supportive environment.

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