MINNEAPOLIS (Oct. 14, 2014) — Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) joins other schools districts and community groups nationwide in recognizing the month-long campaign during October to educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention efforts. On Wednesday, October 22, MPS encourages everyone to take part in Unity Day, the signature event of National Bullying Prevention Month. All students, staff and community members are asked to wear orange in a symbolic but powerful statement in support of safe schools.
“Bullying negatively interferes with a student’s ability to receive an education,” said Dr. Bernadeia Johnson, superintendent of schools. “It has no place in a learning environment dedicated to bringing out the best in all of our students. I am proud to join other MPS staff, parents, teachers, and students in taking action against bullying.”
Originally started in 2006 as a one-week event, National Bullying Prevention Month has evolved into a series of educational activities across the country designed to bring attention to the bullying prevention movement. “We want to educate our students and families about what behaviors we expect from them and let them know bullying will not be tolerated,” said Julie Young-Burns, Safe & Drug-Free Schools coordinator. “At the end of the day, our district is committed to providing a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for every MPS student.”
In April of this year the Minnesota State Legislature passed the “Safe & Supportive Schools Act” into law in an effort to bring consistency to anti-bullying policies across the state. The new law defines what individual behaviors and patterns of behaviors constitute bullying– including online forms of bullying through social media. It also requires local districts to adopt a multi-pronged policy to prevent and prohibit bullying by students.
The Act compels a staff member at each school to monitor and investigate reports of bullying behavior. Finally, the Act also requires regular training and professional development for teachers and staff to identify, prevent and respond to bullying behavior. MPS is currently working to provide ongoing training and support to school sites and students across the district.
To learn more about National Bullying Prevention Month and to access additional tools and resources related to bullying prevention, please visit http://sss.mpls.k12.mn.us/.