Posted: 02/25/14 01:16
by Dave Mindeman
The mother of a 12 year old boy who committed suicide is against the anti-bullying bill that will be proposed in the upcoming legislative session.
Kathy Trosvik, whose son was a fifth-grader at Fridley Middle School in 2006, was being bullied at school. Trosvik's son, Tom, was 12 years old when he came home from school and, without warning, took his own life. She only later found out that Tom's bus driver had noticed the bullying.
She states her concerns this way....
One of Trosvik's biggest concerns is that the bill does not require schools to notify parents of the accused child or the bullied child in all cases. The bill would allow a child to decide if parents should be notified, according to the Minnesota Child Protection League.
Part of the bill, which has garnered a lot of criticism, focuses on forbidding bullying based on race, religion, physical appearance and sexual orientation, among other categories. Trosvik told KSTP her son didn't fit into any of those categories. "It should be just a blanket statement: All children are protected," Trosvik told KSTP. Trosvik does not think this bill would have helped her son.
OK - I respect Ms. Trosvik's opinion on this. But she is assuming that the Minnesota Child Protection League is completely accurate in their interpretation of the bill. That is debatable.
But what is certain is that the previous law which left everything up to the local school districts to derive their own policy has not worked. There have been far too many public instances of failures to prevent the tragedies like the one that happened to the Trosvik family to accept the idea that only local control works. It hasn't.
The new bill sets specific guidelines that are minimums for school districts to have in place - but it doesn't preclude local measures as well. Ms. Trosvik didn't believe that her son fit into any of the categories outlined in the bill. But those categories are broad and any district that is more aware of their responsibilities in bullying situations would have be more reactive to her son's situation than they were when it happened.
As for the Minnesota Child Protection League, they are more worried about perceptions than prevention. It is clear from their rhetoric that they are more concerned about what they perceive as pro-LGBT policies and "anti-Christian" ideas than really protecting children.
Ms. Trosvik's main concern is very real....
"It should be just a blanket statement: All children are protected," Trosvik told KSTP.
On that I think everyone agrees.