Here is a summary of Minnesota’s Battle Against the Bullying Bill of 2014.

Tragically, Governor Dayton and the Democrats in the Minnesota legislature shoved through their heatedly contested and deeply controversial Bullying Bill before the 2014 session ended last May. But the forceful, potent battle that was waged here in Minnesota against HF826 provides us with all the lessons we need moving forward.

They passed the Bullying Bill, HF826, with not a single Republican vote, and, along the way, they lost even the support of three of their own DFL colleagues both in the House and in the Senate.

They lost their momentum from 2013 when it passed the House with little public notice and not a single Democrat defection. At that moment, HF826 was primed to pass the Senate in 2014. It was trumpeted as the first bill out of the chute, with little opposition, no public outrage, likely even to pull in some Republican votes to provide a bipartisan fig leaf.

Then the public got wind of it, thanks to the involvement and opposition of hundreds of parents and voters from all over the state. From then on, Bullying Bill advocates had to fight every inch of the way. CPLAction began by posting and distributing a “Bullying Bill Exposed” video that went viral. We exposed the legalese for what it is:

  • “Developmentally appropriate” strategies, policies and curriculum means sexually charged, even pornographic, materials.
  • “Changing values, attitudes, and behaviors” means indoctrinating into indecency.
  • Respecting “gender identity and expression” means any sexual expression of any kind in the schools, treating them all as “perfectly normal.” That means pretty much throwing out recognition of any inherent male and female genders.

Governor Dayton and his Democrat legislators passed HF826 over intense and months-long protests of parents and voters across the state. They passed the Bullying Bill without school districts’ support. By the time HF826 reached the House floor for final re-passage, its Democrat supporters had to endure a prolonged, nearly 12-hour debate, as their Republican colleagues unrelentingly exposed the numerous false portrayals of this legislation. HF826 passed with the full information and awareness that this new law will be dangerous to children.

Time and time again these legislators were warned not to betray our children. They were warned with billboards, with emails, with personal visits and visuals of examples of the pornographic curriculum this bill will sweep into our schools.

Yet they did betray our children. They placed our children in danger! – by intentionally voting for mandates that will usher in the kind of sexual materials our children must view and accept. They voted to violate the innocence of our children! How could they?

From the beginning, Governor Dayton’s Task Force on Bullying determined they would change the “climate” of our very culture—the “values, attitudes, and behaviors” of “the nature of human sexuality” by creating an entire new values enforcement system. In the original bill language, the two new state implementation and enforcement agencies were called the “School Climate Council” and the “School Climate Center”. The word “climate” is used eight times in the final bill. (In the closing committee hours, attempting to deflect stiff objections over the massive state power overreaches, the HF826 authors actually changed the names of the School Climate Center and the School Climate Council to “School Safety Technical Assistance Center” and “School Safety Technical Assistance Council,” an almost laughable and transparent diversionary tactic. But the agencies’ powers remain completely intact!)

Key Items in Final Bullying Bill

Some key items included in the final Bullying Bill, now Minnesota law, are:

  • Under the guise of anti-bullying policies, explicit sexual diversity materials and programs will be introduced into classrooms, PreK-12 grade. Students of all ages will be intentionally exposed to behaviors and beliefs that many recognize as wrong, immoral, offensive or dangerous. Moral judgments will be interpreted as bullying behavior. (Click here for excerpts of such curriculum.)
  • Children are encouraged to report each other anonymously. The accused may never have to face his or her accuser.
  • No parental notification is required when a student is bullied or accused of bullying.
  • Every school’s implementation and compliance is under the surveillance and authority of the “Assistance Council” and “Assistance Center”. The law authorizes the Council to establish school norms, standards, and Best Practices, and to develop the resources and training materials. Much was made on the House floor of the fact that the Center has no authority to impose anything or enforce its will upon the schools. But the law places the Center under the full authority of the Commissioner of Education who enforces the law.
  • Authors of the Bullying Bill inserted soothing language that the new law does “not interfere with a person’s rights of religious expression and free speech and expression under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.” Unfortunately, the law simultaneously includes mandates that violate these very rights. Students may be charged with bullying for speaking their conscience beliefs and then subjected to discipline, re-education, psychological counseling, and mental health treatment. Those charges must be entered into their records. Their free speech and consciences are seriously violated.
  • Districts and schools are required to consult with outside “community organizations” to adopt, implement, review, and revise their bullying policies. These outside groups must now play an active role in developing “best practices” for prevention, remediation, and discipline policies. All those affected by bullying incidents must be offered the “community resources” of these same groups. Parents will now be handing their children over to unnamed groups to counsel and instruct them, without their knowledge or consent. GLSEN (Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network) and its allies are the outside groups already mobilized to fill that role and they have made it clear they will be there to set up their Gay Straight Alliances in the schools. They are also the drivers behind this legislation.

Lessons Learned

  • Politicians who are beholden to GLSEN and their fellow travelers will not be swayed. They must be replaced.
  • There are more of us than there are of them, and this issue motivates in a big way.
  • There are more Minnesota legislators beholden to GLSEN than legislators who want to protect our children.
  • We have the moral high ground and the stakes are high, but we must effectively articulate those facts.
  • People do respond to good information. We were called liars and worse, but we always had the facts and the language from the bill with us. People and legislators found our work reliable. It gave them confidence to oppose the bill.
  • Votes have consequences. Anyone who intends to protect the children from the ravages of phony bullying laws must get involved in elections. Legislatures have the power to force our culture down a dangerous and deadly path by violating the innocence, health, and well-being of our children. We have all seen that there are legislators who will do that if we allow it to happen.

We must commit ourselves to activating and motivating the public to oppose this onslaught on our children in even larger ways than we did in opposing HF826. If we do, we will prevail.

If you will join us, please sign up for our emails and donate to our organization. Begin using the information we provide to hold your legislators accountable. Thank you.