Student cabinet says progress made on bullying, challenges in mental health remain

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Legislators updated the state's definition of bullying to include cyber bullying in the 2019 session. Students on the Superintendent's Student Cabinet say their districts are taking the change seriously.

State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler says it will take time for the changes to make a major difference, but she's encouraged by the steps districts are taking.

However, the students pointed out a need for better access when it comes to mental health. Baesler says the Department of Public Instruction is working with the Department of Human Services to improve access.

“There's behavioral health services across our state and there's education services across the state. Rather than work independently and in isolation, we need to become better at becoming more efficient and making sure our families and students have access to those services that are already available,” said Baesler.

Baesler says what she hears from the students will be the a key factor in whether more legislation comes in 2021. She added sometimes the adults are quick to put new bills forward rather than try to work with existing structures.