What sorts of behavior should an anti-bullying law address?

A state task force has recommended that Minnesota pass a new anti-bullying law, but it does not offer proposed language for such a law. Today’s Question: What sorts of behavior should an anti-bullying law address?

  • Kurt

    I would like to see language making it unlawful for a teacher to proselytize their political beliefs in the class room.

  • Emery

    @Kurt Perhaps you should have included proselytizing religious beliefs as well.

    I’d argue that bullying has been part of the human condition since our ancient ancestors discovered the benefits of mental manipulation. I’d argue that bullying can be a byproduct of a psychological state not easily erased by more sets of rules.

  • Jim G

    School aged bullies are actually apprentice bullies created by the masters in bully craft, their parents. Behaviors that should be targeted should include; any verbal, physical or electronic messages which seek to injure, humiliate, or intimidate specific individuals or groups.

    Principals, teachers, and other school staff need to be shielded from retaliation from parents when confronting and remediating bully behavior in their schools. A bully parent on a rampage is an ugly but predictable outcome when their kid is confronted for bully behavior that is acceptable at home.

    There is a correlation between reduced school staffing levels because of state reductions in K-12 funding and the increase in bully behavior. This bill must include the necessary funding to implement any mandates and increase adult supervision where the risk of bully behavior is highest; i.e.: busses, playgrounds before school, recess, sport practices.

  • Martha

    I must repectfully disagree with Kurt. While I agree that teachers should avoid overly partisan rhetoric in the classroom, making it a law would cripple the very thing it’s meant to cure – bring an end to bullying. It can easily become a witch hunt. Aren’t gay rights considered to be political? Classrooms will turn into even more of a “sit-and-get” of relentless facts and no time for synthesis that high stakes testing has already turned many into. If teachers are told their first amendment rights don’t count, if they can’t express opinions without being fired, they will be afraid to say anything that can possibly be deemed controversial. Look what happened in the Twin Cities just recently regarding bullying: staff were told to be “neutral”, they were afraid to speak up or be fired, and students paid the price.

    Good teachers not only teach facts, but how to use them. We should not stifle repectful, intelligent debate. Students need to be allowed to explore how to not only learn about a subject via someone telling them about it, but how to research on their own, come to conclusions about what they learn, logically determine their beliefs, and then communicate these to others in an intelligent and civil manner, being tolerant of those who feel differently than themselves.

    Please, let’s stop demonizing teachers. We all – all – need to work to end bullying. It is a societal problem, not simply something that the schools are doing wrong and can be fixed by a bunch of words on a piece of paper. As a society we seem to think that the schools and the schools alone raise our children and bear the responsibility for what they become. We forget that it is a group effort to create a responsible, intelligent, productive human being – the schools, the families, the community, and the individual him or herself. If we blame one aspect and one aspect alone for perceived failures, we will never get to the root of the problem. We must all take responsibility for raising our children.

  • John

    I think police behavior should be included. I’ve seen an upswing in police abuse over the past decade. Mace, stun guns, clubs, riot gear, high powered weapons on unarmed people. The extreme of bullying.

  • Alex

    I am not sure what types of behavior should be included. As a teacher previously, I think the best way to curb bullying behavior is with Service-Learning (take a look at the NYLC “the lift” for examples). Getting students to think about what problems matter to them and developing solutions to fix or help the problem. This gets at the root of the problem by exposing students to people different from themselves, working together, and most of all thinking about something other than themselves.

    I also taught my students to tell other students when they were doing something they did not like. For example, if another student was standing too close to another in line, the student that was uncomfortable told the other student in a polite, calm, but direct manner that they did not want that person to be standing that close to them. No, it did not work each time but it helped students voice their disagreements in a positive, appropriate, and mature way.

  • Kurt


    Absolutely. I didn’t include it because I think it is already generally considered taboo.

    @ Martha

    I gather you are a teacher?

    I have no problem with “discussions” of issues. Indeed, this sort of thing serves only to stifles discussion. I refer only to instances where teachers are letting you know that their philosophy is the correct one and yours is not. In many instances they will rally the class around their position and against the student who expresses a divergent opinion. Hardly condusive to learning, if that be the goal. If you have never had such an experience, consider yourseld lucky I guess. And, to be clear, I am not demonizing teachers as a whole. Only the bullies among them.

  • Bill

    Over protecting our children is a problem. They will learn eventually that even the government (i.e IRS, TSA, Homeland Security) will bully you. You can be as innocent as a 90 year old lady with a colostomy bag and they will still bully you as you try to go through airport security. More and more rules, control. Teach them young that way they’ll get used to it.

  • Keith

    Kurt, you obviously had some bad teachers. Never in my entire academic career (including college) was I ever told what to think, or had a teacher who gave an opinion and asserted that it was the “correct” opinion. The only “correct” vs. “incorrect” discussion in a classroom came with respect to facts, like 2 + 2 = 5 is incorrect. Your “in many instances” comment is probably not factual, but the exception, based on your unfortunate experiences. You may beg to differ.

  • david

    A-holes spawn a-holes. Since we can’t stop them from spawning (only a real a-hole would medal in someone else’s reproductive affairs) you’re going to have to hold the parent a-hole responsible. Start by revoking the little a-hole’s tax dependant status. Then levy fines on the parents each time there’s a bullying occurrence. This all boils down to a rampant lack of empathy in this country. Greed and selfishness may have been a necessary trait when we were first climbing down from the trees and survival was very uncertain, but some of us have evolved past that. It would be nice if the other half joined us here in the 21st century.

  • Gary F

    From having a child that was bullied, I’m not sure how you could write a law that wasn’t very subjective in how it was written and enforced.

    What the law really needs to cover is elected officials bullying legitimate businesses who follow the laws of the municipalities they do business in just because of their religious beliefs.

    That bullying has also go to stop.

  • jockamo

    “…medal in someone else’s reproductive affairs.”

    They are giving out medals in that now? Olympic medals?

    Or did the 12 year old mean “meddle”?


  • david

    See what happens when you let your children be bullies, their victims grow up to me internet trolls like our little friend jackamo/georges.

    Stick to the topic and answer the question jackamogeiorges please, I for one are not interested in anything you have to say.

  • jockamo

    “I for one are not interested in anything you have to say.”

    Sure you are.

    The government isn’t forcing you to read what I write….and yet, you always do. Of your own free will.


  • Byron

    Another new law, why? We have become a society that promotes, encourages, and delivers violence around the world. Our foreign policy is one of a military empire that believes it is “our way, or the highway”, and we have little to no concern for anyone who stands in our way. Countless innocent civilians, women and children included, have died in the Middle East and around the world by our bombs, our guns, and even by the physical hands of our most violent soldiers. We have raped, pillaged, and stolen, but still, we, as a community, do not object.

    The most damaging thing, however, is the result these policies must have had on our children. For nearly a decade now, they have grown up in a society where war and violence is the norm. Stories of war crimes, death, and gruesome injury are so common place, that even we adults have grown desensitized to them; the impact on the impressionable minds, and therefore behavior, of our youth must be even more severe. We, as a nation, are proudly the biggest aggressor in the global school yard. We spend trillions more than any other nation on our military dominance, and we scoff at the idea of reducing that budget. We invent the most stealth, deadly, and effective weaponry humanity has ever seen, and we are carelessly quick to use them. Yet, we expect our children to behave differently? We are violent, and we are bullies. Our kids are simply following the example we have set.

  • david

    What ever troll

  • Jim G

    Hopefully the law will have a requirement to teach courage. Bystanders have a responsibility to intervene when they see others being bullied.

    Then they need to speak directly to the offender.


    First label the offensive, bully behavior: An example:”Belittling.”

    “Hey Dude, we don’t belittle others for typos in here. Use your company manners.”

    Then ignore the persistent bully behavior if the only reputation that’s gored is the bully’s.

  • Kurt

    Keith, I have never been bullied because of my race(I’m white), never been belittled due to my sexual orientation (hetero), nor scorned because of my faith. Others maintain that “in many instances” they have. This is both factual and based on, as you say, their unfortunate experience. If your political beliefs square with those of your over-zealous instructor, you are good, (and quite possibly insensitive to the belittling of those of another stripe)? Just this morning on MPR I heard a report that white kids never mention skin color as an issue while African American kids think it is. So, I don’t know how common my experience is, or how rare yours may be. Just my personal experience.

  • Tricky Mitt

    MPR if you not going to display posts that insert a URL then please remove the field from the webform, thank you. I do not appreciate wasting my time to contribute to the discussion only to have it disappear into the internet abyss.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Laws can make people behave, but they can’t make people better. That’s why laws are useful for dealing with property and violent crimes, but prohibition of relatively harmless substances is worse than useless. The trouble with bullying is that it’s slippery to define. The risk is that a badly conceived law would simply build resentment and contempt for the law among bullies. The goal should be to train young people to realize that bullying is bad for the bully, and you’ll be happier if you don’t do that.

    I also wonder if a new law is really necessary. Many cases of bullying already fit the legal definition of harassment and could be dealt with as such.

  • georges

    Bullying consists of one or more persons attempting to force one or more other persons to do something they do not want to do and would not do if left alone by the bullys.

    Therefore, any new law to stop bullying should drive a stake right into the heart of modern bullying…lefty liberalism.

    It is, after all, the lefty libs that want to bully a group of teenage boys who only want to be left alone to learn about building campfires and snaring rabbits so that if they are ever lost in the woods they will be competent to stay warm and gather food.

    It is the lefty libs that want to use (abuse) the machinery of Big Government in every way possible, such as forcing people to buy only a soft drink of a size approved by the State.

    It is the lefty libs that hate the Constitution of the United States so much that they stomp their little feet and scream “I don’t care what the 2nd amendment says, I don’t want citizens to own guns, dammit!!!!!!”

    It is the lefty libs that want to force people to register to vote, but only at places like the welfare office, where the libs think the new voters will vote Democratic Party.

    It is the lefty libs that forced on this country, at the point of a gun, Affirmative Action and busing to achieve racial equality and yet, 50 years later, the numbers have not changed significantly, 102 and 83. And still the leftists will not admit they are wrong, even though all their ideas have been tried, at enormous expense that has gotten us into the financial condition we now are wallowing in, all their ideas have failed miserably, but they push to use the government to install even more doomed waste formulas.

    But, alas, it is all done now for liberalism. Capitalism is taking over. Capitalism is not burdened by blind obeisance to a blundering oracle.

    The job of the human brain is to make sure that the emotional condition of the person to which said brain is attached remains up-beat, happy, self-satisfied. Therefore, it is completely natural and understandable that liberals think they are tolerant, loving, kind, generous, welcoming, understanding, diversity seeking, inclusive, etc., when, in fact, lefty libs are just the opposite of that glowing self-assessment, and are filled with hate for anyone who doesn’t think just like they do and are more than willing to force, at the point of the government gun, anyone with opposite views to conform to the feelings demands of the little Godlets.

    We will stop them. The inevitable march of time will stop the LibBullys.

  • GregX

    dear georges – the liberals love rules for the conservatives to follow. the conservatives love rules for the liberals to follow. neither trusts in the individual any more. and the party followers of both trust not the party followers of the other. there is no overlap of common thought, belief, action – except that even bent logic and twisted rationale cannot deny. and thus – your fantasy that capitolism will wash away liberalism is a faulty equation. capitolism – freely practiced favors neither conservative nor liberal. both are free to “attack” under a free system. I think you favor elitist-corporate capitolism, where in the corporation has all the rights of a person, but a human none of the rights of a corporation. Fie on you. Tread not on me.

  • neilc

    jockamo/georges is a miracle worker. He makes me long for the days of KimMN.

  • Human Being 2012

    Honestly when I think of antibully laws I think of protecting the Human Beings that are under the age of 18 living in our world right now.

    In other words anything and anything that are going to keep children safe at school and in the public eye. Remember the Human Beings that are growing up right now are somebodies children, and grandchildren. As a member of the community I am quite aware these human beings will remember the past so now it is time to plan for the future so history does not come back to bite us in the behind now.

  • Bruce

    Verbal abuse. (in every area: family, school, classmates and teachers, staff and administration and community)

    Counter with a deepening understanding of the “Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense”.

  • Leonard

    I worked in schools and saw first hand how too many teachers did nothing to consequence bullies on the play ground. Administrators know bullies run the school buses but rarely do they place an aid to monitor the kids until someone is seriously hurt.

    We don’t need more laws, we need people to stand up and stop it. But when our own President allows his appointed Eric Holder Attorney General to excuse the new Black Panthers for the 2008 voting intimidation “bulling” charges, what should we expect? His administration does selective enforcement based upon their race based ” social justice” ideology.

    What ever happened to “equal justice for all?”

    All I see on CNN and MNBC are the subtle bullying media..OMG, CNN cable, the other night played the song, ” Stupid Girl” as the lead in for Sarah Palin story..dispicable media are all in the Obama pocket and it will cost them many independent votes. Dirty Chicago tactics in politics will be their downfall. Yes, they too are bullies when they ridicule others for their divergent opinions

  • kevins

    Hello georges, hope all goes well with you. Your post however seems childish and spiteful, and only tangentially addresses the question of the day. It also mirrors the sarcasm and inaccuracy of one motivated by anger. Bullies have existed and will continue to exist, but it is not because of libs, leftists, or any of the other targets you like to project cause to. Sometimes fearful people can be bullies, and you seem afraid. Have a great day.

  • georges

    Now, the emotion protecting function of the human brain begins to form around 8 years of age and is generally fully developed by the beginning of teenagerdom.

    The ability to think rationally and objectively, on the other hand, is not usually complete until 24 or 25 years of age, creating a deficiency period of about 12 years when the person does not question the validity of any thoughts he/she may have, but merely assumes that having a thought at all confers upon it the halo of perfection.

    When these people are teenagers, we call them teenagers.

    When they go past the age that reason and objectivity should have taken over, but did not, we call them Liberals. Or, women.

    In any case, we do not let them make any important decisions, as an ill-formed brain is not capable of coming to the proper conclusions, except by accident or coincidence, neither of which is a reliable method of solving problems or bettering the lives of human beings.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Another molotov crock tale from the one who previously showed himself to be a racist and an anti-gay bigot, and who now reveals that he’s a sexist, too. Keep it up, georges/jockamo. The more you post, the more you discredit your hateful opinions, which is a good thing.

  • georges


    There’s my little lingonberry…..following me around, always ready to post evidence that what I say is absolutely correct.

    Most people understand that men and women are different. Most people are very happy that men and women are different. Vive la difference, as the Frenchy French say.

    But, alas, then we have the Liberals (for entertainment purposes only). Always chomping at the bit to deny any rational fact that the rest of civilized society understands all too well. And they never see how silly such teenagerish devotion to ones own feelings sticks out like a sore thumb to the adults in the crowd.

    It is well settled among the able that objectivity is a male trait, and subjectivity is common to the female of the species. Day and night. Mars and Venus. Anyone who has known at least a few of each gender, and is at least ordinarily honest, agrees with what is so painfully obvious (any man who has lived with a woman knows exactly what I am talking about). No one can make a credible argument to the contrary. But, if someone wants to try, I will read the effort. Haven’t yet had my first good belly laugh of the day.


  • Steve the Cynic

    Like I said, molotov crock tales….. You obviously haven’t been exercising your supposed objectivity as you observe human behavior if you think that generalization has any validity. Your comments are so silly, giaccomo, it makes me wonder if maybe it’s your intention to discredit the opinions you profess to hold.

    And in case you hadn’t noticed I was only the last of several who spoke up on this TQ to say you’re being ridiculous.

  • Martha

    Bullies like georges/jockamo seem to rely on verbal abuse, which reveals the basis for all other bullying, simple or compound, unfair, inaccurate presuppositions.

    Bruce is right, “The Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense” should be taught to all in our community … it would prevent some rather nasty actions being done to those who bully by those who are fed up with it.

  • Wally

    I agree with John, Bill, and Byron. The worst bully is the U.S. government, and its minions in state, county and local governments. I got roughed up, cuffed up, arrested, tried, convicted and jailed for “trespassing” on a public highway.

    MPR’s Question–What sorts of behavior should an anti-bullying law address?–is wrong in that is assumes a law is needed.

    Anti-bullying laws are just leading to another costly bureaucracy. Of course, the real goal of anti-bullying legislation is to protect the new privileged class, the young GLBT. (Save your breath, I guess that makes me a “hater,” doesn’t it?)

    What real bullies need, is a beat down. Bullies don’t like a fair fight. I stood up to a bully in junior high who was picking on younger kids. He jumped me after school, but I fought back. It got stopped by teachers, but he quit picking on littler kids after that.

  • Steve the Cynic

    In my experience, Wally, it’s the bullies who are the ones who cry “No fair!” when the playground monitor steps in to defend the bullies’ victims.