The U.S. Department of Education reported earlier this week that only three states - South Dakota, Michigan and Montana - do not have laws addressing bullying in schools. Read the very long report here.
Michigan’s governor signed one Tuesday, so we’re now down to two.
But Montana at least has adopted a model policy for school districts. As the report says:
South Dakota is the only state with no bullying law and no source of state guidance for schools to respond to bullying on their campuses.
No state guidance, sure, but the lobbying group that represents all school districts does. Find it here.
South Dakota lawmakers have tried to pass a bullying bill. In 2009, HB1279 failed on a series of narrow votes despite having a slew of sponsors. It sought to define bullying and require school boards to adopt an anti-bullying policy.
Last year’s SB104 would have simply required school boards to enact anti-bullying policies. But it too failed, on a 4-3 vote in the Senate Education Committee.
Who would oppose an anti-bullying bill? In this case, it was Sens. Tim Rave, Mark Johnston, Elizabeth Kraus and Cooper Garnos, who now is a principal in the Lyman school district.
Also opposing the bill? The Sioux Falls School District. Here was their explanation:
The District opposes this bill because it moves the State Board of Education away from a policy making role and into the operational role of the school districts. The bill also infringes on local control of the elected School Board. The Sioux Falls School already has a bully policy that is also aligned to the District’s progressive discipline plan.