Minnesota Anti-Bullying Laws

Parents and children around the country are more concerned than ever about bullying, whether in physical stalking, emotional harassment, or cyber-bullying. In an effort to curb this harmful behavior, several states are cracking down on bullying and enacting anti-bullying laws. In fact, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton recently signed one such anti-bullying bill into law, thereby creating a new set of rules that Minnesota schools must follow in order to protect students from bullying. For instance, school districts are now required to track and investigate cases of bullying, and have an obligation to provide enhanced training to staff and teachers on how to prevent bullying.

According to an article in the Star Tribune, the Safe and Supportive Schools Act replaced a 37-word anti-bullying law that was “widely considered one of the nation’s weakest” anti-bullying laws. Although the law has good intentions – namely, to protect students from the torment of other students – it is not without opponents. In fact, the Star Tribune notes that legislators battled over the bill for more than two years, with opponents arguing that the law was too prescriptive and took away control from local officials. Many opponents continue to have concerns about implementation of the law.

In addition to the new obligations for school districts, Minnesota criminal laws continue to prohibit bullying and cyberbullying. For instance, the following bullying behaviors are currently criminalized in Minnesota:

  • Stalking – which is any conduct that the defendant knows (or should know) will cause the victim to feel frightened, threatened, oppressed, or intimidated – can result in increased fines and potential imprisonment when the conduct includes a “pattern of stalking” (i.e., two or more incidents in a five year period)
  • Harassment – any single incident of physical or sexual assault, or repeated incidents of intrusive or unwanted acts or words that actually have (or are intended to have) a substantial adverse effect on the safety or privacy of the victim – could potentially include cyberbullying, especially if the defendant repeatedly transmits electronic communications to or about the victim in a way that invades the victim’s privacy or impacts the victim’s safety.
  • Obscene or harassing telephone calls is a criminal charge and could also apply when someone texts obscene or harassing messages.

Contact a Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer

While it is important to keep children and students safe and free from bullying, in some cases, allegations of bullying, harassment, or stalking are unwarranted and should be vigorously defended. The Minneapolis criminal defense lawyers at Keller Criminal Defense Attorneys are familiar with the intricate nuances of Minnesota’s anti-bullying laws and other related laws. We will conduct a comprehensive investigation regarding allegations and criminal charges, defending clients facing criminal charges of bullying by seeking dismissal or reduction of charges and/or a reduced sentence.

If you would like more information about Minnesota’s new anti-bullying law or have been charged with a bullying offense, contact our office at (952) 913-1421 to schedule a free consultation with one of our criminal defense lawyers.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Stay calm and compose after getting accused of a crime but not charged in Minneapolis, MN. Do not discuss the facts of your case with anyone, including your relatives and family members. Hire a criminal defense attorney with a demonstrated record of winning cases like yours. Your attorney will discuss your rights, guide you on how to cooperate with law enforcement within the legal boundaries, and build a solid defense strategy to fight the charges you could face in the future.
Expungement and sealing of records in Minnesota affect how your criminal history appears to government agencies and the public. The main difference between the two legal actions is that expungement permanently removes past arrests, criminal charges, or convictions from private and public databases, while sealing hides the criminal record from the public. Courts, government entities, and law enforcement agencies can access sealed criminal records.
Minnesota recently passed a public safety bill that brings sweeping changes to the state’s juvenile justice system. While minors sometimes run afoul of the law, the juvenile justice system seeks to account for the differences between children and adults. Therefore, while the penalties for adults convicted of crimes focus on punishment, those for juveniles are aimed at diversion and restorative practices.