Monday, January 30, 2012

C J says Legislature should strengthen anti-bullying law

This from the Courier-Journal:
Growing up, children are taught, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Everyone knows that’s just wrong — especially the kids who grow up to be bullied — by sticks, stones, words and worse — and that number may surprise you.

A recent anonymous survey of more than a half-million U.S. students in grades three through 12 showed that 17 percent of them said they were bullied two to three times a month each semester (that number was highest for third-graders, with 25 percent reporting abuse at that frequency in school); a quarter of girls and almost a third of boys said they had been bullied for several years; most said they felt sorry for bullied students if they saw bullying occur, but almost as many said they did nothing, even though they thought they should, as those who tried to help. Ten percent admitted to being the bullies.

Some 40 states have tried to step in with laws that try to stop bullying in schools, and those are good starts at what have to be holistic attempts to teach and live the Golden Rule, involving adults and children at home, in public, at school, at church, at work and in every relationship.

A bill was filed on Friday by Kentucky state Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, to strengthen the state’s anti-bullying law passed in 2008. The new measure spells out protected classes of students who are targeted by bullies for their actual or perceived race, their religion, their sexual orientation, their gender identity, their physical, mental, emotional or learning disability, and for other distinguishing characteristics...

The state’s anti-bullying law should be strengthened to protect children when they are away from their homes and their folks. But their folks need to do their own heavy lifting when it comes to lessons of respect. The truth about sticks and stones should be taught and learned in and out of school.

The Obamas, parents of young daughters, have hosted anti-bullying conferences at the White House. Last year, during one of the meetings to help set up bully-free zones in schools and communities throughout the country, Michelle Obama said, “When we, as adults, treat others with compassion and respect, when we take the time to listen and give each other the benefit of the doubt in our own adults lives, that sets an example for our children. It sends the message to our kids about how they treat others.”

Legislators should have everyone’s back on this.

...even if that means openly opposing Frankfort's chief bully.


Anonymous said...

So the very same parents who don't or can't help their chidren with homework, and for whom many schools actually rationalize not giving students homework, are now going to be expected to support non bullying behavior as part of our collective educational team?

Additionally, Mrs. Obama seems to be implying that adults are not serving as non-bulling role models. Is that teachers, parents, who? Could it just be kids misbehaving? Or maybe moms and dads need to stop playing violent video games with their kids and letting them watch all the reality trash that seems to flood our airwaves before we decide to place yet another regulation on teachers.

Perhaps we should turn the tables and instead of "bully free zones" we just make bully's free-game for bullying by the masses. You see a classmate being bullied, you get to gang up on them and bully them. I don't know how many times I have dealt with parents who say the same thing,"You don't throw the first punch, but if the other person does, you nail them." I know this paragraph sounds a little crazy but expecting that we as adults are going to control children teasing and harrassing one another by being good role models or creating special legislation seems to accept the role of victimization and the expectation that a kinder, gentler Rambo is going to come flying in on a rainbow chopper and take out the stereotyped bully with appropriate counseling and a cure-all, one-shot from our AK-47 empathy and humility guidance gun.

Anonymous said...

I just had a parent report bullying of their child to me. The kid never said anything to an adult at the school and the parent doesn't want me to talk to her child or to tell her child that she told me about it, nor does she want me to identify her child as the object of the other student's bullying. She does however expect me to stop the kid from bullying her child. She feared that reporting the bullying might make it worse and she did not want her son to be known as a tattler. She added that if I didn't stop it, that she would involve the legal system.

So I am suppose to engage a student with enough force to change their behavior but not identify the student who is the point of conflict nor am I suppose to follow up with the student being bullied. If I am not successful, she is going to contact the police and superintendent because I am not protecting her child.

No wonder this whole issue is a mess. Parents want you to have the immediate impact of a special forces team but work within operational paremeters of a childrens social mores.

Anonymous said...

We desperately need training in Fayette County Schools for those kids bullied for supposedly being gay, lesbian.

Please help us, Dr. Day!

Speak up for training on gay lesbian and transgender issues.

Deanna Boyd said...

I don't believe any amount of laws will stop bullying in schools. They have the best intentions but bullying, sadly, will never be a thing of the past. As this article pointed out often the acknowledgement of bullying by a teacher or parent will make things worse for the student being bullied

Walter Leszczynski EDF 203 E.K.U. said...

Bullying is present in our day to day activities at every level, at a higher level it is sometimes known as harassment. There is not a doubt for me that we need tougher anti-bullying laws in order to prevent this type of crime. For me bullying is crime. It doesn’t matter the outcome of the situation involving bullying. Bullying someone has the potential to push this person to harm, mentally and physically up to committing suicide. I also believe that the solution to this problem rests not only in tougher laws, but in a change of our society’s expectations and parameters of leadership. As a society we really push the envelope asking for leaders and many assume that they are taking that role by showing strength and no mercy for the one that is different. That is bullying not leadership. As a society we need to revise our expectations in order to give leadership roles to those that are ready for it. I grew up with a phrase in my mind… “When you really want to know someone just give him or her some power”. For the most part it works, but if you give that power to the wrong person it my cost someone’s life. It is also our responsibility as educators to use our wisdom in order to give that role to a student that is not up to the task.