In response to the Gazette opinion on Senate Bill 141, the Bully Law: It is a nice thought that all schools in Montana currently have policies they enforce and work hard to prevent and instruct about bullying in the school. As a parent in Billings, I have spoken with many parents who would beg to differ. If not for the frustration of these parents, this bill would never have come to pass. Montana is one of only a handful of states that does not have such a law. The Office of Public Instruction put out a ruling that each school must have a policy to address this issue. Many have not complied.
This bill will not cut out local control, but will prompt those school districts that do not currently have a effective policy that describes, enforces and expects parent involvement in the solution to make sure that these components are in place. This bill only ensures that the policies that should be in each and every handbook in Montana schools will be. SB141 also protects and gives support to the schools in putting language in that parents are involved in working with the school with bullying situations.
Many teachers and administrators have spoken of their frustration that parents are disconnected to what is happening in the schools, from discipline to academics, and this bill will be one way to reconnect those parents with the school. I am in full support of Senate Bill 141 and hope that every Montanan who is will send e-mails or call in support as well, as it is in the Montana House right now.