Gov. Mark Dayton signed an executive order on Tuesday establishing a task force to try and tackle the issue of bullying in schools.
Dayton, standing alongside Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman and Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey, announced the order at an afternoon news conference.
The Governor’s Task Force on the Prevention of School Bullying will examine practices around the nation to prevent bullying and produce recommendations for the governor and Legislature. The governor will appoint 15 members to the task force from his cabinet, the Legislature and the public. Dayton wants the group to report back to his office by Aug. 1, 2012.
“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,” Dayton said in a news release.
The issue has heated up in recent weeks, since Attorney General Lori Swanson proposed a tougher anti-bullying law. Minnesota’s current law — the shortest in the nation — requires school districts to have an anti-bullying policy, but Swanson wants all school districts in the state to respond to reports of bullying within 24 hours.