To address the serious problem of bullying in our schools, Governor Mark Dayton signed Executive Order 11-33 today, establishing the Governor's Task Force on the Prevention of School Bullying. This task force will be charged with examining the best practices and policies that currently exist to prevent bullying and providing future recommendations to the Governor and the legislature on this subject. Governor Dayton was joined at the announcement by Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, Public Safety Commissioner Mona Doman, Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey, Rep. Jim Davnie, Sen. Scott Dibble and anti-bullying advocate Tammy Aaberg.
"Bullying causes severe suffering and harm to the children, who are its victims; and we must do more to stop it. Children and parents in Minnesota should have confidence that their schools are safe places for learning and are free of harm or intimidation. The work of this Task Force is critical to ensuring that a healthy and nurturing school environment exists for every child in our state," said Governor Dayton.
Governor Dayton was joined at the announcement by Tammy Aaberg, whose son Justin was a victim of bullying in the Anoka-Hennepin school district.
"Bullying is a serious issue that should be given immediate attention. Bullying and harassment happens daily in our schools and is very harmful to students, even sometimes deadly as in my son Justin's case. I want to thank Governor Dayton for taking the initiative in providing this executive order so that many can come together to form a plan to make our schools safer for our children. Our children deserve a safe learning environment," Aaberg said.
"A number of states have stepped up recently and strengthened their anti-bullying laws in order to create a positive learning environment for all students," said Rep. Jim Davnie (DFL -- Minneapolis). "I am hopeful that with Governor Dayton's leadership, we can finally create the conditions needed for Minnesota to catch up to these other states, and more importantly, affirm the value of all our children."
Sen. Scott Dibble added, "The continuing problem of bullying in our schools is unacceptable. Adults in every community must accept responsibility for addressing it so that every child can go to a school where they are safe, nurtured and can learn. This taskforce will be an opportunity to get involved and help develop a solution for Minnesota."
The task force will be made up of no more than 15 members, to be appointed by Governor Dayton through the open appointments process. Members of the taskforce will include the Commissioners of the Department of Education, the Department of Human Rights, the Department of Public Safety and members of the legislature. The Governor will also appoint additional members with experience or expertise in psychology, education, pediatrics and anti-bullying advocacy.