Dalrymple Signs Bullying, Concussion Management Legislation
BISMARCK, ND – Gov. Jack Dalrymple today signed into law House Bill 1465 and Senate Bill 2281 during a ceremony at the state Capitol. The Governor was joined by Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, bill sponsors, health care providers and representatives from the state’s education associations.
The bills strengthen North Dakota’s policies to ensure the safety of students in schools across the state, with House Bill 1465 relating to the prevention of bullying in public schools and Senate Bill 2281 relating to concussion management for school athletics.
“Today, we officially sign into law two bills that will further advance our state’s commitment to protecting our young people and to providing them with the resources and opportunities they need to secure a bright future,” said Dalrymple. “By preventing bullying and protecting the well-being of our student athletes, we are ensuring a safe and positive environment for our youth to excel both academically and athletically.”
House Bill 1465 adds new sections to the state’s Century Code that define bullying and outline prevention policies for North Dakota’s public schools. Highlights from the legislation include:
- Defines bullying as conduct that occurs in a public school, on school district premises, in a district owned or leased school bus or school vehicle or at any public school or school district sanctioned or sponsored activity or event.
- Conduct is so severe, pervasive or objectively offensive that it substantially interferes with the student’s educational opportunities, places the student in fear of harm or damage to property, or substantially disrupts the operation of the school.
- Conduct includes the use of technology or other electronic media.
- Before July 1, 2012, each school district shall adopt a bullying prevention policy.
- Each school district shall include bullying prevention information in its professional development activities.
- Each school district shall provide bullying prevention information to all students from kindergarten through grade twelve.
“House Bill 1465 is important to the state of North Dakota, and most importantly, to our students,” said Rep. RaeAnn Kelsch, primary bill sponsor. “We need to establish and foster a safe environment in our schools and this bill is a first step in ensuring a positive environment for our students so they can achieve their fullest potential.”
Senate Bill 2281 requires that all schools that sponsor or sanction athletic activities must adopt a concussion management program and outlines the specific requirements that must be included in the program. Highlights from the legislation include:
- Each school district and nonpublic school that sponsors or sanctions any athletic activity and requires a participating student to regularly practice or train, and compete, must develop a concussion management program.
- The concussion management program must:
- require that students be removed from competition and practice or training if they report or exhibit any sign or symptom of a concussion.
- require that any student that is removed must be examined as soon as possible by a licensed, registered or certified health care provider and that the student does not return to competition or training until written permission is obtained by an authorized health care provider.
- require that each official, coach and athletic trainer receive biennial training regarding the nature and risk of concussions.
- Authorizes legislative management to study concussion management, including the nature, scope and applicability of programs designed to prevent or eliminate concussions.
“The importance of this bill begins and ends with our youth in North Dakota,” said Sen. Spencer Berry, physician and primary bill sponsor. “They will live a lifetime with their brains and bodies long after youth athletic activities are behind them. Concussion management programs are designed to provide an avenue for these student athletes to be properly recognized, evaluated and treated for a traumatic brain injury that may occur while participating in school sponsored athletic activities.”