Minnesota House Republicans Attempt to Gut Safe Schools Act

Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act, a comprehensive and LGBT-inclusive anti-bullying bill under fire by MN Repubicans

Minnesota_State_Capitol

Minnesota House Republicans came out swinging last week with a new bill aimed at weakening the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act, a comprehensive and LGBT-inclusive anti-bullying bill passed and signed in April of 2014 by Governor Dayton.

The Safe Schools Bill, or the “Anti-Bullying Bill” took Minnesota from having one of the weakest laws on school bullying to a policy on parity with the rest of the country. Governor Dayton’s Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Prevention of Bullying Task Force Report HF 826 was opposed by the Children Protection League Action [CPLA] PAC stating, “This report includes language that opens the door to emotionally damaging, sexually explicit curriculum for all school-age children regarding human sexuality.” The opposition to the law was also met with at 27 minute video and DVD issued by the CPLAction PAC containing explicit cartoon like drawn pictures about sexuality, including images of children in a sexual context.

MN House Bill HF0102 was introduced on the 12th of January 2015 by Representative Pat Garofalo (R) District: 58B. This bill would seek to exempt a large number of schools from the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act

Most troublesome is the following passage in the bill: (c) This section does not apply to a home school under sections 120A.22, subdivision 4, and 120A.24, or a nonpublic school under section 123B.41, subdivision 9,or a public school located in a school district that has adopted a written bullying policy under Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 121A.0695, that protects all students served by the school district.

The Minnesota Family Council, an independent affiliate of both the Family Research Council and the more-moderate Focus on the Family, both known hate groups as identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center was swift to applaud Representative Pat Garofalo and released an Action Alert this week urging their members to reach out and thank Rep. Garofalo in her attempt to gut this law.

Referring to the Safe Schools Act, The MFC states in an email, “the [current] law is a threat to students’ religious freedom rights (since “bullying” is defined entirely too broadly) AND the law singles out certain types of students for extra protection from bullying instead of simply protecting ALL students equally. One of those types of student groups receiving extra special protection is, you guessed it, LGBT students, since LGBT activist groups helped write this law–working closely with lawmakers.”

In an email to their supporters, OutfrontMN’s executive Director Monica Meyers points out that the bill would weaken the Safe Schools Act,

“Yesterday, in the Minnesota State House of Representatives a bill was introduced that would weaken the Safe & Supportive Schools law.

“HF 102 would allow any district that passes a policy with apparently any content, provided that it applies to all students, to short-circuit the entire safe-schools structure the legislature passed last year. If this were to become law, it would allow a district to pay lip service to the concept of bullying prevention while doing nothing to protect kids or build a safe and supportive environment.”

The Minnesota DFL countered HF0102 with their own bill HF0165 proposing an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution, Article I, by adding a provision for gender equality under the law. Unlikely to pass, the bill has 15 DFL authors and would simply extend rights to the LGBT community by adding the following line in the Minnesota Constitution: “Equality under the law shall not be abridged or denied on account of gender.”

Again, The Minnesota Family Council has come out against this bill using fear tactics similar to that used during the MSHSL Transgender Athlete Policy debate in December of last year. Headlines on their website scream, “No, Minnesota Government, Girls Are Not Exactly the Same as Boys” The Minnesota Family Council says, “some lawmakers have quietly been pushing for a “gender equality” amendment to the Minnesota Constitution under the guise of “equal rights for women.””

“In reality,” The Council continues, “the proposed amendment would erase all distinctions between men and women under the law…make no mistake–liberal legislators would like to see all distinctions between genders erased, making gender a “fluid” thing rather than a biological reality.”

“The staggering consequences of this would be no more sex-segregated bathrooms, no more rights of widows to receive social security benefits based on the husband’s earnings, no more laws requiring husbands to support their wives, law enforcement no longer able to use sex as means to identify and prosecute criminals–and those are just the tip of the iceberg.”

The Minnesota Family Council believes that the push for “transgender rights” flows from the gay rights movement and is based upon the premises that gender is merely a social construct and that the sexes are interchangeable. They believe the “transgender movement” undermines the fundamental order divinely established by God, to reflect who He is and who we were created to be.

As a woman who is transgender, this is all news to me.

My name is Claire-Renee Kohner and in January of 2014, I came out as transgender. My family fully supports my transition and, along with the Minneapolis trans community, my transition has been extremely positive. My journey should be fun, so keep your arms and legs inside the cart, it's going to be a wild ride.

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