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Senate backs harassment policy

ST. PAUL -- Bullying and other types of harassment would not be tolerated in Minnesota schools under a bill senators tentatively approved Thursday.

On a 43-22 vote, the Senate approved a bill requiring school boards to adopt a policy that prohibits harassment. The policy applies to students and school workers.

"The fact is some kids suffer vastly more significant forms of harassment," Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, said, specifically saying gay students often are victims.

"We don't tolerate this type of activity from adults; why do we tolerate it from kids?" he added.

But Republicans opposed the measure.

"We need to resist this temptation to be the super state school board," said Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina. "We need to leave these issues to those people who know our students and our kids best -- that's our principals, that's our teachers."

In an earlier Senate education committee meeting, debate centered on gay students, with opponents to the bill saying they fear it would go beyond the bullying issue by removing references to "mother and father" from some school law.

Opponents said the bill could lead to an open embrace of pro-gay school curriculum.

Senators Thursday defeated an amendment that would have banned any curriculum promoting homosexual or bisexual lifestyles.

Davis works for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Daily Globe.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.