Stop the Bullying
By Sherry Holliman Victims of bullies often suffer the psychological consequences of said bullying well into adulthood, with higher levels of depression, anxiety and some victims even committing suicide. Bullying in school should be taken as seriously, if not moreso, than other forms of mistreatment children endure at the hands of peers. Parents don't have to sit helplessly by while a bully chips away at their child's self-esteem. Once a person has been named as a bully, the process of learning to identify bullying can help reduce the potential risk for poor decisions of both parties involved. We can now ask who's at risk and how it can be stopped. Parents can take action.
What is bullying? Bullying may consist of physical violence, such as punching, shoving and hitting; or verbal assaults, spreading gossip about a classmate, calling the classmate names or teasing the classmate.
In the electronic age, bullying also manifests in social media via e-mails, text messages or Facebook posts. Bullying may involve excluding a classmate from group activities or ignoring the classmate. Sophisticated bullies instead of abusing a person directly, they enlist their friends to intimidate the classmate for them.
Students who are bullied start to skip school and eventually drop out of school, start abusing drugs and committing crimes. It is a given that students cannot learn in an uncomfortable environment, like at a school where they are being harassed and bullied. It is up to school administrators, educators and parents to work together to ensure that this is not the case.
Many schools have taken their responsibility to stop bullying very seriously and have put in place an antibullying system of rules and consequences. Parents should request a copy of the school's anti-bullying policies if it is not already in your student's handbook. The sad truth is that bullying does happen and preventative measures do not work 100% of the time. Parents cannot expect that a school is able to keep bullying from happening completely. However, parents should expect schools to take a proactive approach to bullying. Also, bullying should be dealt with in an immediate and firm manner once the school has been made aware of the problem by a student or parent. Some state and local lawmakers have taken action to prevent bullying and protect our children through laws in their state education. Schools are a primary place where bullying can happen. Helping to establish a supportive and safe school climate where all students are accepted and knowing how to respond when bullying happens are key to making sure all students are able to learn and grow.
Arkansas currently has a law against bullying, and cyberbullying, these related behaviors is a very serious matter that should not be overlooked because the offense is being committed by juveniles. Both policies can be viewed on StopBullying.gov. When adults respond quickly and consistently to bullying behavior they send the message that it is not acceptable. Parents, school staff, and other adults in the community can help kids prevent bullying by talking about it, building a safe school environment, and creating a community-wide bullying prevention strategy.
If you are experiencing a situation with this matter and not getting the support you need from school officials, reach out to your local elected officials for additional options to seek assistance for your child.
Every child has the right to feel safe in their learning environment.
Sherry Holliman is a concerned citizen of Crittenden County and has some views on a variety of topics that she wants to share with her neighbors.
‘ A Political View’
By Sherry Holliman
‘A Political View’