Addressing the Bullying Epidemic in Schools
posted by: Pamela | October 18, 2010, 06:35 PM   

In the wake of two recent suicides in connection to bullying, school systems across the country are reevaluating their policies relating to school discipline and harassment. Students can be overloaded with academic studies and family pressures; no adolescent needs incessant taunting and harassment by the school bully.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made a statement last week in response to the tragedies. "This is a moment where every one of us – parents, teachers, students, elected officials, and all people of conscience– needs to stand up and speak out against intolerance in all its is time we as a country said enough. No more. This must stop."

Certainly educators and administrators cannot stand by and watch students being harassed, but what can their roles be in protecting children? For years we have disciplined pushing, shoving and name calling. Recently, however, a new and silent threat has taken stage: cyber bullying. It's easy to police obvious physical abuse under the school roof, but what if it happens after hours on Facebook or via text message?

"Bullying is no longer just passing notes," said Pennsylvania's Gateway School District spokeswoman Cara Zanella. "It's a whole new learning curve for all of us."

School officials claim that educating parents about bullying and cyberbulling is as important as educating students. Programs including those found on can be used as tools to address bully prevention.

"The message is if you are doing this to someone, stop it now," said Dr. Wheat, assistant superintendent of special education and pupil services in the North Allegheny School District. "If it is happening to you, tell someone. If it's happening to a friend, then you know someone needs to intervene."

Educators and administrators need to know the facts to be able to prevent harassment in a technology- driven society. Children should see school as a sanctuary for learning and growth, not a place to live in fear of the rumor mill.

Have you encountered bullying in your classroom? What kind of disciplinary policies does your school have in place?
Comment below.

Originally posted by Alix on the AAE Blog.

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