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A new year to work to resolve bullying problem
Saturday, July 27, 2013 5:00 AM
There are two places a child should feel safe - at home and at school. Unfortunately, that no longer seems to be true.
Incidents of poor behavior by youngsters at school are growing. We're not talking about horrific events such as mass shootings, but, rather, cases of bullying and fighting.
As the school year is set to begin, a new state law - known as the anti-bullying bill - should help curb some of the bullying incidents.
Indiana already requires schools to have policies in place to discourage the bullying of vulnerable students, but this new law significantly strengthens those existing provisions. Among other things, it requires schools to establish procedures for reporting incidents of bullying and to adopt disciplinary rules around bullying, both in and out of school.
Most school districts across the state are working to add more security to their schools. That security might be in the form of a resource officer assigned to schools. Other schools are training personnel to handle school disruptions.
Those are good measures, but it's going to take a more proactive approach by parents and the entire community to make significant inroads into the bullying problem.
Our local schools have offered discussions with students on how to be good citizens, and Bully Busters programs - where student mediators resolve cases - have been successful
How about extending the discussions to parents? If behavior is taught at home, we know there are some parents who would benefit from hearing the same information.
Little progress will be made unless each of us is willing to recognize the underlying cause for the violent behavior.
Good behavior can't be legislated.
The problem will only be fixed when parents and the community accept the responsibility to teach children respect and good citizenship.
All too often the parents/guardians see the school as "the enemy". From listening to various discussions in public places it seems to often stem from their own experience within their childhood and upbringing. Mother figures seem to put forth a more willing effort to talk with their children while father figures are putting up a stubborn "nobody's gonna tell me how to raise my kid" approach.
I truly hope that there will be a breakthru with these enforced laws but I believe the key is getting parents involved, especially when the child is young and impressionable. These children are our future caretakers of the world and it can be a wonderful world for all of us.
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7/30/2013 8:57:00 AM
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