Target: Assistant Minority Leader, Senator Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes
Goal: Support legislation to increase protections for bullied students
A Minnesota law to increase protections for bullied students has seen success in the Minnesota House, and will soon be debated in the state’s Senate. The new bill would be a fantastic update to Minnesota’s present policy, which is a 37 word document that does little to prevent bullying. Though the policy will aid thousands of victimized students and provide them with additional support and resources, many Republican party members oppose it because it also protects LGBT students. Urge Assistant Minority Leader and member of the Minnesota Senate, Roger Chamberlain, to change his opposition into support for this much-needed policy.
The Safe and Supportive Schools bill already has support from Democrats and human rights groups, but Republican leaders are working hard to bad-mouth the bill into submission. Some have claimed that anti-bullying laws are gay-agenda policies that punish heterosexual students for expressing their opinions.
Minnesota’s bullying laws are the weakest in the nation. Republican leaders apparently want to keep bullying an undefined, untraceable crime that bullies can inflict on their victims at any time without repercussion. Though students can be bullied for a variety of reasons, those most severely bullied are also LGBT students, and there simply is not enough protection for them in the state’s present policy.
This new policy defines bullying as a threat, provides bullying prevention training to educators as well as students, and ensures that the most vulnerable student groups have the support and resources they need. Support is much needed, because bullying is not uncommon. A survey given to students recently showed that 53 percent of sixth graders had been bullied, and 42 percent admitted to bullying a classmate.
Still, Senator Chamberlain continues to speak out against the bill. He and his supporters fear that this change would force educators and students to be respectful, report abuse, and provide support to victims of bullying. It remains uncertain why any of this would seem undesirable, so it can be assumed that these Republican activists either detest the idea of a safe school environment, or they detest the idea that LGBT students deserve to be safe at their schools.
Urge Senator Chamberlain to stop pushing an anti-gay agenda and start protecting victimized students in Minnesota.
Dear Senator Chamberlain,
The Safe and Supportive Schools bill will soon be debated in the Senate, and I urge you to change your mind about the usefulness of this bill. At present, you have spoken out against it because you believe that it unfairly supports LGBT students to the detriment of their peers. This is not true. LGBT students are more frequently subjected to bullying and abuse than any other student group, and such abuse has led to emotional distress, self- harm, and even suicides.
The fact that you and your supporters do not support this bill because you do not wish for increased protections for LGBT students is inhumane. These students are not being treated like human beings, and because they are frequently bullied, they both deserve and require the support that this bill offers. Please lend your voice to them and back the Safe and Supportive Schools bill.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Bully Free Zone via Wikimedia Commons