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Hannah, thanks for the article, things are much much different from when any one of us were kids. Adults need to understand that we really do not understand the dynamics of today's school environment. The age old stand by of "stand up for yourself" by punching the bully, can be very quickly met with a very violent return by the bully. Either a bat, a knife or worse. Adults need to realize the extreme lack of empathy that is swelling within our schools today. Allowing kids to "handle" things themselves only makes things worse. Kids seem to feel that they are immune from retribution today and if any comes their way, well they just turn up the heat against those who told.
There are so many pressures on our students that we as adults are not clear or are not being fully informed by our kids or the schools as to the severity of the situations. Zero Tolerance is a nice "tag line"for a school to have but it has mostly failed (just about everywhere). It does not work when staff are told by students and fail to act. The system is broken. Everyone needs to take whatever you thought you knew about bullying, dump it out and start over. Why? Because the major problem with every anti-bullying tactic I have seen no matter how good or powerful, will fail due to one component: the Adults.
The true problem face of school bullying is the adults who have allowed it to happen year after year and pass it off as "normal" We have created schools full of violent behavior and are now looking how do we fix it. Schools watched as cyber issues took over their schools and sat on the sidelines while "deciding" what to do. ACT that's what they needed to do.
Programs have been around for years but unless the schools have along term plan and actively engage the parents and students in a community wide initiative, they will fail.
Parents across the US and abroad are standing up to schools and demanding better attention to the #1 problem in our schools. Left unchecked bullying leads to truancy, drugs, criminal behavior, dating abuse( later spousal abuse) self harm and suicide. Too many of us have lost children to bullycide and schools still look the other way. My son Matt was hazed by upperclassmen his last day of 8th grade, as a "welcome to high school". When he fought back to protect himself it became an Assault and Battery on him. All he had worked for up to 8th grade to him was taken away for someone else's fun. Matt ended his life roughly forty days later. And how do I know what I said above because I have spent the last 8 years fighting to make thing different for our kids in our state and elsewhere.
Bullying attitudes will only change when the adults fully understand the gravity of the situation and understand that every child is at risk, until we get involved.
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