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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Anti-Bullying Law...NOW WHAT?!?


"A person is bullied when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons, and he or she has difficulty defending himself or herself."
- Dan Olweus



Bullying
Bullying is one of the most important issues children are faced with during their school career. The four main types of bullying in school are physical bullying, verbal bullying, social bullying, and cyber bullying. Physical bullying is any unwanted physical contact intended to cause bodily harm which includes punching, kicking, or shoving. Verbal bullying includes things like insults, name-calling, and racial slurs. Social bullying is the spreading of rumors and gossip or the outright exclusion or isolation of another. Cyber bullying is any form of bullying through the use of the Internet or other electronic devices such as cell phones. Bullying can affect more than just the bully and the victim. It can affect the bystanders, the general atmosphere of a school, school faculty and staff, the families of all involved, and the entire community. Kids are bullied every day in almost every school all around the world and many of them do not know where to turn for help or even if help is available.

• What should a victim do? Report to someone? What if gets worse? Fight back?
• What should a bystander do? Help? How?
• If a victim fights back against the bully, should there be consequences? If so, what? If not, why?

Statistics

• "Over half, about 56 percent, of all students have witnessed a bullying crime take place while at school." www.bullyinstatistics.org
According to Cyber bullying statistics from the i-SAFE foundation: Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying.
• More than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyber threats online.
• Over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet.
• Well over half of young people do not tell their parents when cyber bullying occurs.

• Bullycide is a term used to describe suicide as the result of bullying. New bullying statistics 2010 are reporting that there is a strong connection between bullying, being bullied and suicide, according to a new study from the Yale School of Medicine. Suicide rates are continuing to grow among adolescents, and have grown more than 50 percent in the past 30 years. www.bullyingstatistics.org

It is important that we realize what damage bullying has done to every aspect of a student’s life. Whether it be a small or large instance of bullying, it is always an issue that needs to be addressed. New Jersey has decided to prove that their zero tolerance for bullying has reached an ultimate high. The new Anti-Bullying Law is hoping to change these statistics for the better.

NJ Anti-Bullying Law
New Jersey enacted its public school anti-bullying statute in 2002. In 2007, the law was amended to include cyber-bullying and in 2008 the law required that each school district posted its anti-bullying policy on its website as well as distribute it annually to the parents or guardians of the students from their district. The most recent amendment, known as the “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act”, has been touted by many to be the toughest in the nation. Below are the most significant changes that are intended to strengthen the procedures that occur after incidents of harassment, intimidation, and bullying of students that occur in school and off school grounds.

• Information regarding the district’s policy must be incorporated into the a school’s employee training program and must be provided to all staff, volunteers who have significant contact with students, and those persons contracted by the district to provide services to students.
• Board members, whether newly appointed, elected, re-elected, or re-appointed, need to complete a training program on harassment, intimidation, and bullying in schools (but only once).
• Training on harassment, intimidation, and bullying in schools shall be provided by the New Jersey School Boards Association, through the consultation from a myriad of recognized experts in school bullying
• The principal must notify the district superintendent of schools of all the action taken, which the superintendent must then report twice a year to the board of education.
• The reports will then be used to grade each school in their effort, and the averaging of the schools will result in the district’s grade. The grade received will then be posted on the district’s website within 10 days.
• Acts of harassment, intimidation, or bullying must be reported verbally to the school principal on the same day and in writing within 2 days. The principal must then inform the parents or guardians of all involved parties of the incident and the available intervention services. This excludes cases when the incident occurs between students in the special services school district, students in special education, or students with disabilities, in which case, the school employee will have the discretion to determine if the incident merits a formal report.
• The principal must then initiate an investigation within 1 school day of the report which shall be conducted by a school anti-bully specialist. The investigation must be completed within 10 days of the written report. The results of the investigation will then be reported to the superintendent of schools within 2 days of the completion of the investigation. After this, the results of the investigation must be reported to the board of education and the parents of guardians of the involved students.
• The parents or guardians need to receive the results within 5 days of it being reported to the board. They may then request a hearing before the board and this request must be met within 10 days.
• The parent, student, guardian, or organization may file a complaint with the Division on Civil Rights within 180 days of the incident.
• The school’s response to the incident can be defined by the principal in conjunction with the school anti-bullying specialist.
• The school district must conduct a re-evaluation, reassessment, and review of its policy, making any necessary revisions and additions.

Positives/Negatives of NJ Anti-Bullying Law

The passing of the new Anti-Bullying law has put into action a whole new group of responsibilities on the school systems. The law has successfully spread a greater awareness of bullying in schools and the effects it has on all students. This comes at a time when bullying related suicides are being increasingly reported in the media. The law has even named the first school week in October as “Week of Respect”, if schools were not previously motivated to deal with harassment, intimidation, and bullying they most certainly are now. The law imposes many consequences onto school districts if they are not following through with reporting and setting up intervention and prevention plans.

The Anti-Bullying law lays out steps that the school must follow from the moment they are informed of a bullying incident until the investigation and report are completed. With the good intentions of the law also come many flaws. It requires training of teachers and staff members in the district, however, where are the workshops and training programs? Are we responsible for setting them up ourselves, and with what resources? The law also states that each public school’s principal is require to appoint the currently employed school counselor, school psychologist or other similarly trained individual as the school anti-bullying specialist. This is a great idea and there should be an anti-bullying specialist at each school but being similarly trained does not help when the training is not about bullying. Most school psychologists would be uncomfortable being labeled as a specialist in a field they are not trained in. School districts will also be graded on their efforts to “implement policies and programs consistent with the ‘Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act’ not on their efforts to identify harassment, intimidation, or bullying.”

The law gives no guidelines to what intervention and prevention plans need to be implemented besides the fact that they need to address bullying, so on what guidelines will they be grading districts? The grade is then required to be posted on the district website, what happens if a school receives a low or failing grade? Will funding be affected? This can become another situation similar to the No Child Left behind Act where schools who need funding the most, in order to set up and implement programs, are not the ones who receive it and are instead punished.

• Should we already be prepared to handle these issues?
• Will grading districts motivate them to do better or only hurt them?
• Should it be the state or the individual school districts who are responsible for setting up training programs? Is it not each district that knows their children and the way their system works best?

This blog was created by:Nick Pomponio, Karena Ferrera, Ifat Sade, Dennis Chae, Charlotte O'Hara, Michelle Cervino

54 comments:

Kimberly Schielke said...

A victim of bullying needs to feel that there is a safe place they can go and be able to talk about what is happening to them and have reassurance that something will be done to stop the bullying. If victims do not have this reassurance they will not be comfortable coming forward about being bullied and it will continue to get worse. Therefore, victims need to know that something will be done if they come forward. I do not believe in violence but if it s a victims only means of protective themselves and if they is not other source of help. In this situation I do not believe that the victim should face consequences. They are just doing something to protect themselves when they feel that no one else will. We cannot blame them for sticking up for themselves when that may be their only means of survival. I think that it is part of a bystander's responsibility to at least report an incident that may have happened to witness. However, I believe that they really should step in and stop
the bullying but not everyone is able to do that, which is understandable. However, if more bystanders stepped in, it
may show bullies that bullying is not going to be accepted
at all anymore and it might stop bullying without having to
have all these intense laws.
With these new laws, I do not think it is fair how it is left up to the school districts to fend for themselves on handling bullying situations. Since there are a lot of consequences, school districts should be given the necessary resources the need to prevent bullying based upon the NJ state law.

Jaclyn Barber said...

I think the title of this blog is very appropriate because when I first heard about the new law my first thought was, "OK, great, we've created a law, now what?" My household consists of an administrator (my dad), a teacher (my brother), and a student-teacher (me) so this law has been discussed quite a bit and from different views. Although we all see it as a good way for the state and schools to show zero tolerance for bullying, it also includes a lot of paperwork, training, investigating, and more paperwork. My brother works in a middle school, eighth grade, and sees everyday just how hurtful kids can be to each other. He also knows that some kids are just teasing each other, but, for example, what if one day he is wrong and this really is bullying, which brings me to my father’s perspective. Every time a possible bullying situation is brought to his attention he is obligated to report it. So, for example, my brother reports a teasing incident to the principal, my father is obligated to do something about this, but after a thorough investigation and tons of paperwork it is decided that this is just teasing. This incident has now taken up the principal’s entire day. Tomorrow morning, there is another similar incident, and the day after that, and the day after that…
I know it seems that I am against the bullying law, I am not. I am heartbroken every time I turn on the news and see that another child has killed themselves because of bullying. No one should ever feel unsafe in their school and no one should ever be driven to the point of no return, especially children. My only question is about the guidelines: what exactly is bullying and what exactly is teasing. Because what if in the previous scenario my brother does not report this incident because he believes it is teasing, but it turns out that it is truly bullying and something awful happens to one of the students? I just fear that this seems like a great idea, but that it could turn into the No Child Left Behind Act, as mentioned in the blog.

Natalie Wiggins said...

After reading the first questions on what a victim should do after being bullied, I couldn't help but think of a person suffering from domestic violence. As a victim, do you want to tell on your harasser, just to have them slapped on the wrist and made even more mad and set up for further abuse? How many police reports does a victim of domestic violence have to endure until something is actually done about their situation? Lets not have our children fall into a similar trap of repeating cycles of non-effective consequences.

Should the victim of bullying report the harassment? YES. Report to Who? Teachers, principals, tutors, paraprofessionals, parents, babysitters. What if it gets worse? KEEP TELLING SOMEONE. What should the consequences be? In my opinion the punishment should fit the crime. However, most importantly, the abuser should know exactly what will happen if their behavior continues - and if it does happen again, that consequence is followed through with, NOT with just another wrist slap.

In addition to training the adults, I also think the students should go through some bullying workshops of their own. They need to know the provisions of the new law just as much as the parents, teachers and administrators. They should know the consequences of bullying and most importantly WHAT Bullying is. This means that the students are educated enough to know the difference between teasing, playing, and bullying. They need to know how to recognize it as a bystander and what they need to do if they are being bullied, see someone else being bullied or are told about bullying going on in the classroom, building, playground.

If the students are more aware of the warning signs or of the consequences of bullying, then they will be more open to reporting it or thinking twice about participating in it.

paola said...

Ideally, a victim of bullying should definitely report the incident to someone, whether it be a teacher, a psychologist, or a parent. Unfortunately, there is a lot of increased stress and fear in doing this because in many cases that I've seen or even experienced myself, when the victim reports what is going on and it is not "severe enough" to receive a significant punishment, then the bullies figure out who reported them and actually harass the victim to a greater extent. Whoever is responsible for overseeing reports of bullying needs to do everything possible to make victims feel comfortable reporting whatever they need to. They can do this by first making the process as anonymous as possible, without mentioning to the bullies who reported them. They can also first keep an eye on the bullies while they are with the victim during a vulnerable time, such as lunch or recess, and if they see anything they can intervene right away without it looking like the victim reported anything. Once intervention takes place, the severity of punishment should obviously depend on how cruel the bullying is but I personally believe in a very low tolerance for any type of bullying because it has been shown that kids who are bullies (or even those who are bullied) tend to be domestic violence offenders as adults or commit other acts of violent behavior later in their life if they do not receive some "tough love" that bullying is absolutely wrong.

The idea of training workshops is solid but I would like to know more details of what these workshops entail. The problem is that the teachers themselves need to have some emotional understanding of how to deal with various bullying situations. It is not always as simple as "in this case, always do this" but requires that the individual witness who sees the bullying can be creative with how they go about addressing the situation. For example, if verbal bullying is witnessed in the cafeteria, the procedure might be to directly tell the bullies that they have to go to the principal's office after school. This could definitely backfire on the victim though because the bullies could try to harm the victim out of anger of being reported. The witness needs to achieve the fine balance of making sure the victim is safe yet the bullying behavior is still reported and reprimanded.

catherine Mattia said...

I strongly agree with kim. Growing up I was teased a lot ( I would not say bullied) but I do know that the children need to know that what they are going through is not something to be ashamed of and that people are their to help them. I think the victim should fight back but only in an effort to protect themselves from what is being done to them. I also agreee that a bystander should not jump in the fight but should report it to an adult that can help. In regards to the laws I think it should be a set of rules that district has to follow and not let the district make their own rules just to make sure these rules are being followed to the extend they should be based on the law guidelines . Great topic guys !

nick pomponio said...

Natalie-

The idea of training the students I think is a great idea. If some of the students can learn more about bullying and what to do in those situations or what can happen due to bullying, they might be more inclined to stop it if they see it, not partake in it, and report it. For respect week this past week the school district where I work, held two assemblies for the student body where other students put on skits about bullying that emphasized what bullying is, how to stop it, and the effects it can have on the victim. They used situations that just about everyone has seen or been personally involved in. I'm not so naive to think that these assemblies are going to stop bullying, but it could be a solid start to the education of the students. Maybe if enough students stand up against bullying it could stop bullying before it even starts.

Lauren Riker said...

Jaclyn-

I am in the same boat as you. I too feel apprehensive about the implementation of the Anti-Bullying Law. As a teacher, when I talk students, they are unaware of what bullying really is. In addition, their parents are unaware as well which causes both parties to identify teasing as bullying. Training is essential for staff members. They need to fulfilling understand what bullying is and this needs to be conveyed and reinforced for students as well as parents. I truly believe this law is a good thing- statewide, however, the guidelines need to be laid out and training needs to take place. I am attending an extensive workshop in my district on Monday regarding HIB. I am happy and relieved to get training, but why wasn't this workshop organized before the start of school?

Ifat Sade said...

Paola
I strongly agree with you that victims of bullying must report the incidents to someone in order to put a stop to it. In order to lessen the elevated stress and fear associated with reporting a bully, there is a website Bullystoppers.com where victims and/or bystanders report bullying in an anonymous method that protect the identity of the reporter and can be viewed by the school administration to take action. As a report was made, school staff must start investigating the specific bullying report and increase staff monitoring the school. Consequently, it will help to catch unsuspecting bullies in the act and discourage bullying from happening. This method of reporting bullying is based on situational crime prevention. It is unfortunate that we have to look for drastic approach to handle bullying in our school and make schools safer for our kids.

Ifat Sade said...

Kimberly,
I also believe that if more bystanders steeped in it will deter bullying. However, first we need to be aware and identify all bystander roles and then target them all in order to stop bullying. For example, we have the assistants who join in and assist the bully; the reinforces who give feedback to the bully; the outsiders who stay away, not taking sides but allowing the bullying to continue and the defenders who comfort the victims and try to stop bullying. There are some prevention programs that target the triadic relationship among the bully, victim and bystander, but the most prominent one is the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (BPP). The prevention program is a universal intervention that targets the community, families, school, teachers, classroom, bullies, victims and bystanders. The program establishes a learning environment where a positive social climate is created by the support of a positive adult role model, strict limits and consistent sanctions for bullying behaviors. Schools which applied this program reported significant improvement with 50% reeducations of incidents of being bullied and bullying others, reduction in antisocial behavior such as fighting, and improvement in overall class and school climate.

Sergio Oliva said...

I agree with Ifat: the bystanders' inaction will only incite more bullying. More focus should be given to teaching young people what to do if their peers are being victimized. Students should be taught to identify the difference between playful teasing and harmful exploitation. Consequences related to acts of bullying should be stern and must be made explicit (without ambiguity); these consequences should be announced in the beginning of every school year in every classroom so that all students are fully aware. A more communal, peer-focused method of bullying prevention ("bully-proofing") may reduce bullying by getting the bully's and victim's peers involved in the conflict's resolution.

While several laws and regulations are being set up in order to address bullying after its incidence, more proactive measures should be implemented. Schools can set up rooms in which students can anonymously report bullying. The teachers or specialists in charge of these "centers" can teach the victim how to appropriately respond to victimization, such as who to talk to when victimized, what to say to the bully, and what actions to take to reduce future bullying. While the "anti-bullying law" and the "week of respect" are a step in the right direction, proactive measures to prevent and ultimately reduce the incidence of bullying should be the focus of schools.

Sidenote: A school's grade on it's preventative measures against bullying should absolutely NOT affect its state and federal funding! Inner-city schools, particularly those in very poor neighborhoods, are reportedly more violent than their suburban counterparts, and their funding is already lacking as is; theoretically, inner-city schools will report a higher incidence of bullying than a suburban school. Reducing funding to already under-funded school districts is counter-intuitive!

Charlotte O'Hara said...

I agree, we really need to spend time teaching victims and bystanders more about bullying and what to do if they experience, whether it be first hand or through seeing a peer bullied. It cannot just be about preparing the teachers to handle bullying since they are not always the ones who witness the act. Victims and bystanders need to be fully aware of what is considered bullying vs. teasing in order to know when to report it.

Schools should aim to set up truly anonymous ways to report bullying. If a child feels that reporting an incident will turn around to hurt them they are certainly less likely to follow through. I think even the idea of an assigned room where they could go to report bullying may defer students since it means their peers can see them entering the room and would therefore assume they were reporting someone for bullying.

Ifat mentioned bullystoppers.com. If all schools adopted this program more bystanders and victims would feel more comfortable reporting incidences. However it's important to think about that fact that without knowing who is doing the reporting there is not much to stop anyone from falsely reporting an incident. At an extreme level this could become another form of bullying where someone reports an innocent child of bullying in order to hurt them. Not only could this cause innocent students to be punished it would also waste valuable time and resources.

I think we need to remember that we want the reports to be anonymous to other students but not necessarily to teachers and administrators. What are some other ways schools can make the process anonymous enough for students to feel comfortable reporting bullying?

Dana Koplik said...

I think that this was a really interesting topic since it is so relevant right now. I believe that it is definately a step in the right direction with all of the stories on the news lately about suicides as a result of bullying. I also however agree with what a few people had said about it not being effective unless some real consequences are put in effect. If no one is taking the law seriously, no changes are going to be made and everything will stay the same. And, if students see that their schools aren't making changes, victims and bystanders are not going to come forward and get help. I think that one way to make sure it will be effective is definately training teachers and administraters on what to do if a victim approaches them and on what can be classified as bullying. I think that parents and students also need to be made aware of what to do if they are having problems with bullies or see other kids being bullied. Overall I believe that the law could be a postive change but it needs to be implemented in the right way to do so.

Lindsay Matassa said...

Reading the article hits home with me. I am a nanny/babysitter to a nine year old boy who has been and continues to be bullied in his school. Jared has ADHD. Yes, at times he can be hard to handle but when you get to know him you know that he has a big heart. I have watched for two years as Jared has been continually bullied in school not only by his peers, but also by the administration and teachers as well. Every morning Jared wakes up with an anxiety of going to school. Many a mornings he spends throwing up because of nerves of what the day ahead will bring. At lunch and recess he tries his best to find a place to belong, but instead he often gets rejected. I have personally have heard his fellow peers call him "annoying" and have seen them laugh in his face. Jared sees it as an obstacle to overcome and tries harder to fit in, but the harder the tries the more he is rejected by his peers.
His nightmare in school does not stop there. There are even teachers who pick him out in the hallways and make comments about his behavior in a mocking way, without taking into consideration his disability. So, yes with the new act they want to require the teachers to attend training sessions about bullying but what good is it when they themselves may be the bullies?
Even the principal at his school when it comes to the issue of his bullying takes a back seat. At one point a child "joking around" drew a picture of Jared being killed. The principal turned it around to make it seem as though Jared started the whole thing. When his mom went to find out about it, and got the board of education involved the principal told her that they would leave Jared alone in the school if she stayed out of the school. What good is this act if administators are not putting them into full effect?
Jared's problems fitting in socially do not stop there. His own neighbor pretends to be his friend, criticizes him, laughs at him, and purposely leave him out of things. How can this law help when bullying is happening outside the school? Shouldn't parents be involved in this act as well and be teaching their children not to bully?
What scares me is what can happen when a child is bullied. On the news, we see young people taking their lives because of bullying. What we need to do is make sure children know that they matter and how important they are. I fight everyday to make sure Jared knows how great he is so he does not become one the statistics of those who left this world to soon.

Can a law stop bullying? I highly doubt it, but if we can all work together we may just work to save one life at a time.

Londone said...

Its ironic that this is the topic because im actually going through an issue where my cousin was being bullied by a student at her school and other students that did not go to her school as well. I think bulling is a serious issue that can turn into something extremely serious if the parents do not get involved. Cyber-bullying is also another on going issue that should be monitored because now these kids can be bulled through facebook, and other social media websites that these parents may have no idea about. With my cousin, I made sure that i was extremely involved with everything that went on with her at school and although I am busy with school and work, i made myself available, by giving my cell and work number to her teachers and principles at the school so that they can call me at any given time. Although she is at that age where she would like to get online and chat with her friends, I limit her internet use when I am not home because I am just not aware of what is going on while I am not there.
Although most would say that the victim should report the person that is harrassing them, they may be afraid, or threatened...what if the person who is bullying them is threatening to use some other type of force if he/she were to say something? I always think of these things when my cousin finally comes to me with an issue she is having in school. I do not feel that there should be consequences to the victim when fighting back with equal force because it is not fair that he/she had to endure being bullied and embarrassed while at school, or outside, or even online (which can be in the privacy of their own homes). If the victim has done everything possible by going to a parent, or a person of authority to complain about the individual, what else is there left to do?

Michelle_Cerv said...

@Jaclyn

I find your situation to be interesting, as well as important. When this law was passed it seemed like those circumstances were not taken into consideration. This proves that there is possibly a need for a supervisor of some sort to be in charge of all reports of bullying incidents. Seeing that it is important to remember that the principle has more on his plate than just filling out paper work.

I also feel it to be important that the students are witnessing the repercussions of bullying. Middle school children, I feel, are more likely to be visual learners. If they are able to see their fellow classmates being punished for their acts, they will learn the seriousness of bullying and try to avoid getting in trouble themselves.

Nick Vitaro said...

The Law does take some initiative to take control of the bullying issues so many school districts face. I agree however that the Law needed to place some type of workshop for teachers and school psychologists to be trained in, as well provide workshops to inform students on these issues.

I think we also need to consider why bullying is such an issue in our school systems. I think there are more means to harass students such as cell phones and social networking which were nonexistent in the past. It is also likely that sites such as facebook serve as a tool to compare yourself to others.

A student who already does not feel popular at school might look at other student's facebook page and see pictures of their classmates at a party which might make that student feel even worse and make them that much more vulnerable and sensitive to abuse at school. Or a girl who is insecure about her body might compare herself to pictures of her classmates on facebook, which might make her more insecure and vulnerable at school.

Regina Wietecha said...

It is great that throughout the years the laws for bullying have grown stronger and stronger, the only problem I feel with this is not many students are aware that they have these laws to be able to fight back with. Bullying does a great toll on a person's behavior as well as it can make someone second guess themselves every day before going to school, posting something online, basically everything. These laws need to be more exposed to students and teachers need to take the seminars not just once in a couple years but every year because every year the bullying takes place in different forms. Some students may not even realize they are being bullied without learning more about it themselves. School's should have the students take bullying seminars and if that doesn't work then they should all take a class where they reenact different bullying methods. This way everyone knows how unkind it is to be the bully and the one who is being bullied.

Dennis Chae said...

I think Charlotte raises a good point regarding the anonymous reports of bullying. I don't find it a stretch at all that children might use "reports of bullying" to start conflicts and even as retaliation. The question really is:
- How anonymous should reports of bullying be?

@ Nick Vitaro:
You raise another excellent issue regarding cyber bullying. There are so many different online situations that children often use to socialize with one another. A recent story I heard from my school involved a conversation that took place on x-box live. Apparently one student told another that they (a group of students from the same school) didn't want to play with him online. Now this can be construed as a form of cyber/social exclusion type of bullying.
- Would you consider this to be a severe enough situation to warrant a bullying report?

Interestingly enough, one of the parents of this student dropped the "b" word to several school employees which then warranted a bullying report. However, when that parent was informed that an investigation was underway they became very defensive and insisted that they did not want their child as part of an investigation. Which raises the question:
- Is there a stigma attached to being a victim of bullying that is so strong that some parents would rather ignore their children's plight than to admit that their child is being bullied?

Wendy said...

Although the Anti-Bullying does have a lot of flaws, I believe it is a step in the right direction. It is nice to know that the government is finally cracking down on bullying and taking it seriously. While this law allows for more restriction on bullying, it does have many draw backs. I find it unfair to make the school counselor, school psychologist or other similarly trained individual the anti-bullying specialist. That person may know nothing about anti-bullying, unless they specialized in it which in that sense they would be lucky. And does becoming the anti-bullying specialist increase your pay? In most schools it does not. As for training in anti-bullying for teachers and administrators, I feel that the district should set up work shops for the schools. But who is providing the funding? That, I am not too sure of. I feel this law has a long way to go before it could be considered as "perfect".

As for students becoming aware of bullying and how to handle it, I think that is a great idea. I am a substitue in a school district and last week I was the substitute for a gym teacher who also teaches health. I noticed in the health room that there were tons of worksheets on bullying, how to handle bullying, and what to do if you are bullied. I think this is amazing! Making students aware of how to react in a situations and what to do if you are bullied is such a wonderful way to minimize bullies in a school.

Bystanders are another story. I think it is important for a bystander to step in and help a victim if they are being bullied. I know if I was a victim of a bully I would be grateful if someone would stick up for me. But it has be learned throughout history that the more bystanders there are, the less they will do. More commonly known as the bystander effect. In this sense, I think it is important to teach students what to do if you are the bystander. Teach them that it is okay to help someone and it is okay to speak out against a bully.

Lisa Nicole Williams said...

For some odd reason, even though I am aware of how many teens use social networking sites, I am still shock to learn that half of them have been cyber-bullied or engage in cyber-bullying. Bullying is obviously a serious problem and more adults need to get involved to rope in adolescents and teens to help support the cause. I've seen on channels, such as Cartoon Network, campaigns being run everyday about how bullying is acceptable and that the kids how the power to change it and end it. I feel that it will reach a good target audience because you know who you are reaching and are presenting an idea in a way that can empower a younger group. In terms of this law, things obviously get more complicated. It seems that it is more about guidelines and meeting criteria and less about the actual act of getting educators trained and ready to tackle bullying. The questions that really got my mind curious were: "It requires training of teachers and staff members in the district, however, where are the workshops and training programs? Are we responsible for setting them up ourselves, and with what resources?" I feel that it is an awesome question and is a serious issue that needs to be addressed and rather quickly. Those are supposed to be the people that begin the trend of anti-bullying and help our schools become safer. I think more needs to be done from a higher level when it comes to implementing those workshops and training sessions. I feel it is more of the schools duty to execute the rules and regulations rather than creating them. Also, money is also an constant issue. Higher organizations really should be funding this because it is obvious that some districts flourish due to their great financial capabilities, and others perish because they have basic or insufficient resources. A better plan needs to be made so that the process is more clear and more resources are made available. Less pressure on the schools is never a bad thing.

Alexandra Moreta said...

This is a case of old that we have been dealing with since ancient times. Bullying has been around since before even I was born and if we don't have the proper stratagies down by now on how to make this work as to the best of our ability then there may never be a way. I believe that the state should decide when the trainings should be given and this should be done possibly at one of the conventions that is held for the teachers yearly. I don't believe it should be a one time thing as bullying is a constant on going matter it should always be addressed as to the best of those in charge ability. I also think that those that are seeking a career in teaching; classes should be available for them so they are aware and prepared to handle such situations.

I believe this is a matter that needs to be dealt with by teachers, parents, and principals of schools. Also I believe that the schools should not be penalized unless they neglected to do their part in helping the matter. However, I claim that the parent of the child doing the said bully should receive a penalty. Parents should become more involved and assertive when addressing bullying to their children.

Sean McGoonan said...

I have mixed feelings about the anti-bullying law. I do feel that it is a valiant effort to take a step in the right direction, and I believe that it is absolutely wrong for any student to feel unsafe while they are attending school; however, we must take careful note of the word "unsafe." This anti-bullying legislature seems dangerously vague to me. Like Jaclyn pointed out, there is a line between bullying and teasing, and I believe the main difference being the aspect of safety. Proper discretion is definitely necessary in order to decipher what activities truly constitute carrying out the intense process. Bullying needs to be met with severe consequences, but we need to be sure we are actually going after a real bully who is threatening someone’s safety, and not just a random kid who made a joke. This is why I am definitely a strong advocate of teacher training and having specialists within every school. With such a delicate subject, we need to have individuals who are educated and can use proper judgment. Not to sound like I'm taking the side of the bully, but I think it would be very sad to see a kid who was slapped with negative marks on their permanent school records just because they didn't want to play Xbox Live with someone and it hurt their feelings. Safety at school is something that undoubtedly requires attention; however, if someone doesn’t want to sit by someone else at lunch one time, is the victim really unsafe, or are they just upset? Does that call for a bullying investigation? Now, I realize that Dan Olweus uses the specific language of "repeatedly," but does that really even make sense? If someone is stuffed in a locker once, despite the fact that it only happened one time, it is definitely bullying and needs to be addressed. On the other hand, if someone jokes about someone else a few times, it's technically a negative action that has happened repeatedly over time, but does that really hold the same weight as the locker incident? With descriptions and definitions so vague, we could say the entire cast of Saturday Night Live are just a bunch of bullies, as well as all of the viewers (bystanders) for laughing at the expense of someone else. Very extreme comparison, but you get the idea. We need to make sure to have specificity and certainty of what bullying is, and faculty need in depth training in order to make this work and work well.

Sean McGoonan said...

An additional measure that I think would be effective in the effort to reduce bullying is the inclusion of some sort of education for the students themselves; both the bullies and victims, as sort of a social etiquette training. Perhaps part of this problem is the fact that our world is saturated with such an abundance of technology that kids don’t ever really learn how to act when they are around each other and actually face to face. Call me naive, but I think it’s possible that some students just don’t realize what is socially acceptable behavior (this refers to both teaching bullies what they do is wrong, as well as helping potential victims get over a possible awkwardness that may have made them a target in the first place). Also, it may help students learn how to deal with being made fun of, because it is almost inevitable that a person will have a joke made about them at least once in their lifetime, and we need to realize that it’s not the end of the world and find effective solutions on how to address the situation. Adolescent suicide is up more than 50% over the past 30 years; that statistic is devastating, but seems erratically high to me. Are kids really that much meaner these days, or is it possible there an excessive amount of oversensitivity with a perceived lack of options? I’m sure it’s a combination of a lot of things, but by educating kids as well as faculty, we can show that there are much more positive alternatives to suicide, help is available, and other actions and options exist.

karenaf25 said...

So how do we educate kids on this important issue and help them develop skills to help them prevent this from occurring? There are some preventative measures that schools can use to help raise awareness of bullying for victims, bullies, and by standers. Psychologist Dan Olweus discussed effective Anti-Bullying intervention programs that schools can implement in his book, Bullying in School: What We Know and What We Can Do. He discusses different strategies such as distributing questionnaires to both students and staff so one can gather information on the extent of the problem and to use the information gathered as a bench mark to measure the impact of the intervention efforts, developing parental awareness campaigns, teachers and students can establish their own rules against bullying, and increasing adult supervision at critical times (ex. recess, lunch).
Video game designers have created anti-bullying games. “Fear Not!” is a virtual 3D school that portrays students who are either bullies, victims, or bystanders and places in realistic bullying scenarios and suggests ways to handle bullying situations. Games like this have shown to help increase probability of victims escaping victimization. It has also assisted in helping to help children learn assertiveness and how to practice it without any pressure.
As pointed out in the responses to the blog so now we have this law but what now? What are the guidelines we must follow and the steps that we, as school officials, need to take once an incident occurs? A lot of emphases have been placed on interventions for victims but what about bullies? Are they not in need of attention as well?

karenaf25 said...

Bullying, unfortunately, is something that has been going on forever. It was there when we were kids and will continue to exsist for years to come. I guess now the question is how can we help reduce these occurances and what can we do to make sure kids feel safe. I think the law has good intentions but doesnt offer a sound solution. Also this new law doesn't help distinguish between bullying and normal teaseing which could create a whole new set of problems. Where do we draw the line? IF kids are engaging in teasing each other and then one becomes upset is that bullying? They both were engaged in the same activity. This law can also lead to false reports. What if a child is made at someone for whatever reason and decides to get back at them by making up a story that the person was harrassing them, then what? I do believe that this new law has the best intentions however it is a work in progress. I think that "New Jersey" felt that they needed to show The People that they were taking the suicides and bullying incidents seriously and are doing something to address it. The Anti-Bullying Law is beautiful in theory however unfortunatley it is flawed and not practical. Basically all this law says is here is the problem, you need to fix the problem, it must be fixed by a certain time, if it is not fixed you can be penalized, and oh yea make someone in charge of this..... sorry we dont having any trainings yet or funds....

karenaf25 said...

@ Lindsay
- The stroy you shared about Jared made me so sad. That is so horrible that he must have to deal with that. What horrible people. I cant believe the adults are just as bad. How can we expect kids to do the right thing if the examples that the adults are sdemonstrating are so horrid. HAs the mother reached out for some legal aid in this matter? It appears that the school as a whole is not making it a safe palce for him. If officals are going to make fun of him and not support his mother when she is fighting for thew well bring of her son then the matter should be taken to a higher level. Let the mom know that she should reach out to Rutgers Legal Aid/Child Advocacy program in Newark. Its a free leagal service that helps provide representation and advocates for the child in the educational system. I have linked families I have worked with twith them and they have been successful. Hope this can help Jared out.

Dennis Chae said...

@ Sean
Below is an excerpt from a copy of the “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights” (Section 11) that attempts to define harassment, intimidation and bullying:

"Harassment, intimidation or bullying" means any gesture, any written, verbal or physical act, or any electronic communication 1, whether it be a single incident or a series of incidents,1 that is reasonably perceived as being motivated either by any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or a mental, physical or sensory [handicap] disability, or by any other distinguishing characteristic, that takes place on school property, at any school-sponsored function 1[or] ,1 on a school bus 1, or off school grounds as provided for in section 16 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), that substantially disrupts or interferes with the orderly operation of the school or the rights of other students1 and that:
a. a reasonable person should know, under the circumstances, will have the effect of physically or emotionally harming a student or damaging the student's property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm to his person or damage to his property; [or]
b. has the effect of insulting or demeaning any student or group of students 1[in such a way as to cause [substantial] disruption in, or [substantial] interference with, the orderly operation of the school]1;1or1
c. creates a hostile 1educational1 environment 1[at school]1 for the student 1[; or
d. infringes on the rights of the student at school] by interfering with a student’s education or by severely or pervasively causing physical or emotional harm to the student1.

As you stated, the main focus is definitely on the aspect of safety. However, since the law includes the concept emotional harm, do you think that this includes social bullying?

In the blog, social bullying is defined as the spreading of rumors and gossip or the outright exclusion or isolation of another. This definition, along with the law’s new policy (in Section 16), which states that incidents that occur off school grounds when a school employee is made aware of such actions, seems to indicate that the aforementioned situation on x-box could be interpreted to be a valid act of bullying which warrants an investigation.
Do you think that the definition of bullying is adequate? Is it too restrictive? Or is it still too broad?

krimso said...

Great topic for discussion. It seems that putting the law into effect is a good first step, however, there seem to be too many unanswered questios regarding implementation and enforcement.

It seems like, in a similar fashion to "no child left behind" there is alot of potential for this to go the wrong way. Are schools, overtaxed as they are, going to run their anti-bullying programs in an attempt to meet a certain criteria or are they going to look for unique and innovative ways of disseminating information to kids, teachers, administrators and support staff and design a truly effective program? Do most schools have the resources to design an effective program? I'd bet that most school systems are already playing catch-up right out of the gate.

I liked alot of the comments already made. It seems that the most effective means to create change is to target all three groups; bullies, victims and by-standers in addition to teaching staff how to monitor and intervene. I wonder what kind of research is out their that shows effective methods for fostering bystander intervention and victim reporting? I would certainly like to see what is available. It would be nice to see some of these resources available to schools in conjunction with the law.

Gabrielle Walker said...

It is very important for parents to be involved in not only their child’s academic experience but also social experiences. Parents should talk to their children about bullying and appropriate ways to deal with a bully if they are being victimized. It is important for kids to understand that they deserve a safe, comfortable, quality learning experience and that there is help available if they need it. I think the NJ Anti- Bullying Law is a great way to stop bullying in schools because perpetrators know that there will be severe consequences for hostile behavior. In addition, teachers need to play a more active role in preventing bullying during recess and during instruction time. I can recall times in elementary school when teachers would observe a student being picked on and singled out but they did little to stop it. Teachers and parents need to become more educated on the signs of bullying and how to prevent it.
I believe more studies need to be conducted on the true long and short term effects of bullying. Some experts claim bullying causes many psychological issues, physical issues, and can even cause students to become more aggressive while other experts disagree. At what point does bullying become detrimental to one’s health? Many people today still believe that bullying is simply a rite of passage that everyone goes through.

Gabrielle Walker

Daniel Rutz said...

I believe that a victim of bullying should report it especially if it persists and it is by the same person or persons. If it does get worse then more drastic measures have to be taken to protect the victim and punish the bully. People have to know that bullying is wrong and that it will not go unpunished even if the punishment may seem harsh. I think a victim should fight back to the extent they are defending themselves and not hurting the bully, that might enrage the bully even more. They shouldn't just take the beating; however, especially if it is physical. Being a bystander is tricky because if you help and try to break it up you may become the bully's next target, but if they don't help the victim could get hurt even more than if they had intervened. I think it would be better to try and help and then tell a teacher or someone in authority what happened. I don't really think that a victim should be punished if he has to fight back. It is basically asking a victim to take a beating without being able to defend themselves and they have to trust that whoever they told will take care of it. If whatever means the teacher, or whomever is in charge, uses doesn't work the victim is continued to be beaten up without respite or a chance to fend for themselves. If you were to punish a victim who fought back it wouldn't be fair, it is self defense. If they didn't instigate it and can't do anything to avoid a fight they should be able to fight back without consequence. Unless of course they were to perhaps beat the bully and injure them. Otherwise a victim should have the power to fight back without worrying about being punished for protecting themselves.

Jasmin Mohamed said...

Violence should never be the victims first option. Violence does not solve any thing only makes matter worse. A victim who is constantly being bullied should report the incident to a teacher , principal or parents. If a bystander is witnessing someone being bullied they should try to help the victim by talking to the bully or go tell someone who has authority.

PeninaA said...

@Dennis Chae
You raise a very interesting question regarding the stigma that's attached to being a victim of bullying; how important IS it for the identities of bullying victims to remain anonymous? How strong is the stigma associated with bullying victims?
I do agree that there is a strong stigma associated with victims of bullying. And, these victims are often further tormented simply because they are stigmatized by the fact that they have been bullied...and the vicious cycle continues. PRINCIPALS-TEACHERS-PSYCHOLOGISTS- this is where we come in. This is precisely the point at which we involve ourselves - even in scenarios when we may feel that our intervention is unwanted. It is of tremendous importance that school staff is intent on diminishing the impacts of the fear that this stigma creates and to ensure that it does not prevent bullying victims from enlisting our help.
How?
By protecting the anonymity of bullying victims who step forward in an attempt to address their victimization. This privacy policy should be very strictly enforced so that victims and their families feel comfortable addressing the situation appropriately - without the fear of stigma.
At the same time,however, it is of great importance to ensure that this anonymity policy doesn't compromise bullying awareness (which in my opinion is the most affective tool to prevent bullying).

PeninaA said...

@Jasmin Mohamed
I agree with your statement that violence should never be a victim's first option. I realize that you specified FIRST option; is violence appropriate as a second or third option? If teachers and other educators, the principal and school psychologist are not active in bullying prevention, and in ensuring that the victim's identity remains protected - are they warranting violence? Even more - are educators encouraging violence by their failure to be proactive on bullying issues?
What role (inactive role or maybe even active role) does an incompetent and poorly trained school faculty play in fueling bullying?

Maria Spinella said...

Since the state of New Jersey has enforced the Anti-Bullying law, it should be the responsibly of each individual school district to set up training programs. These training program sessions should be mandatory for every teacher and staff in the district and should count as part of their professional hours (workshops). After all is it left up the principle, teachers, and staff to handle each situation of bullying that occurs and it is their responsibility to make sure it does not happen or progresses into an unfortunate situation.

nick pomponio said...

-PeninaA

I both agree and disagree with what you've said about the anonymity of bullying victims and violence as a reaction to bullying. There should definitely be some degree of anonymity, but I also feel it is important for that victim to be able to stand up for themselves and maybe even confront the bully face to face. Even if this happens after talking to a trained adult(therapist, counselor, etc), I feel that it is crucial to that victim's personal sense of worth because usually (definitely not always) that victim's self-esteem is low and made even lower by the bullying. This would require that the anonymity is thrown away at some point in the process.

I would never promote violence to a child in any way, but at the same time sometimes it can be both the last and only option available to a victim. For instance, if you are consistently bullied day after day where it progressively gets worse to the point where you are being knocked down, pushed around or punched and kicked, what are you going to to do? Tell teachers and staff? Ok, check did that a number of times and nothing changed. Tell my parents? Ok, check did that and they told teachers and principals and nothing changed. What next? When there is nowhere else to turn what to you do? Keep taking it? At some point when nothing is changing or improving, that kid is going to get physical and as an outsider I would not be able to blame him for his action. Violence is wrong, but at that point in my opinion that child had no choice. He had to protect himself. People can say you always have a choice, but that is not necessarily true.

nick pomponio said...

Personally, I am most concerned with bullying awareness and prevention. I think removing the idea that "bullying is cool" is something that needs to be addressed. One way to accomplish this would be to have kids in school express themselves and make it known that bullying is not acceptable. This could be by stopping bullying in progress that they might see in class or in the hall. Another way could be to organize anti-bullying events in school. This could be done by having a club formed or even incorporating it into the curriculum somehow. Putting it into PE or health could even work.

If bullies are made to realize that bullying isn't cool, they would be more likely to stop. And most teenagers are more likely to listen to one of their peers than to an adult. This may be naive, but I feel that with all the attention that is being put on bullying all across the state, there will be a decline in bullying, and we will see more kids sticking up for each other. However, this needs to be started by the adults involved. Stopping bullying needs to be made the "cool" (for lack of better word)thing to do.

Lauren Riker said...

Maria-

Technically districts must have an Anti-Bullying Inservice (professional development). My district had there's this past Monday, and other districts had there's on September 1st. The problem though is this law was developed and passed quickly, not giving districts within the state much time to prepare themselves. Hence why many districts have filled in many HIB reports. I agree with the law, but districts have an obligation to thoroughly train professionals working with children in order to reap the benefits of a safe productive school climate.

SharonKim71 said...

If you look back it's amazing how far we've come to prevent the extremities of bullying and the act of hurting other's feelings. Everywhere you turn their are signs, tv shows, and even movies that deal with the prevention of bullying. Teaching the unethical side to bullying gets challenging when trying to relay the message of someone's feelings getting hurt when children themselves have never experienced it. Bullying has been around for ages and is seen throughout the media and our schools. The act of putting down these laws was a good precaution towards the actual goal - for bullying to be nonexistent.

SharonKim71 said...
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Charlotte O'Hara said...

@Alexandra - I agree we need to start thinking more about parent involvement. Prevention and Intervention plans need to involve students, teachers, and especially parents. As much as we would like to think that the parents will always be there to help us solve the problem they can sometimes make it worse. Just yesterday I was at a school where I am completing my shadowing hours. They are dealing with a parent who comes to the school a minimum of 10 times a day to come harass the teachers and school staff. She insists on going up to the classroom to see her child, to yell at the teachers, and threatens the administrators while using foul language. She even goes so far as to his behind tress on the playground when her child is out there.

@Karena- I think this also ties in with your question on whether or not the Bully needs intervention. This woman's child is having behavioral issues at school, she is bullying students and teachers, and she shows no respect for anyone else. She uses name calling (with the same foul language her mother uses) and physical force. It is really sad to see because this is her second school in the district, they were recently kicked out of her previous school, but the cause was really her mother’s behavior and not so much the child’s behavior. The school she is at now is trying to help the child but they are always stopped by the mother who shows up hourly in a rage because she thinks they are evaluating her child without her knowledge. We need to have parents involved so that we can not only have them participate in prevention intervention programs but so that we can also see if they are promoting this behavior at home. The bully certainly needs intervention in a case like this; this child has learned this behavior from her parents. She is in need of an intervention plan that shows her this behavior is wrong; it's not fair to let her go on like this since she really had no chance to learn the correct behaviors. We always need to look at the bully at what is causing the behavior, we have to remember that bullies are still children and need to be guided and shown the correct behaviors.

Charlotte O'Hara said...

@Nick - I think the idea of creating an Anti-Bully group could make a real difference in schools. Many children don't always respond well when they have teachers and administrators running assemblies and programs to teach about bullying. If it were their peers themselves who were organizing events and programs and sending out anti-bully messages they may be more responsive and even get involved themselves. It think it would have that domino effect, once a few students joined then their friends would, then friends of the friends, strength in numbers right? This kind of group, is successful, would certainly take away the idea that bullying is cool.

Emily Medeiros said...

Ive done some previous research on bullying, especially in the school systems-- and I have to admit everytime I hear about another case.. it is not a suprise. Kids are vicious, its their nature. I had a writing class last semester and had to write a paper on the bystander effect and how UNconsequencial being a bystander has been/become. I think that if bystanders started getting reprehmanded for their lack of action, people might actually start stepping up and doing the right thing. I, like most, am completely against bullying. I simply just dont see the point. In the last two years, I personally feel like I have heard about/read about SO many children, little children, commmitting suicide because of bullying. The most recent case I read about was about a little boy who committed suicide because he was being made fun of for being gay. In his goodbye video- which he posted online- he told us all about the daily torture he endured as well as the bully who was doing it. His father is currently fighting for justice. Justice in which the bully who was the main reason for his son's suicide-- only get the maximum sentence of community service. I couldnt have been more shocked when reading this. I know it is hard to place blame when the victim is gone-- but the little boy clearly mentioned a specific kids name as the MAIN reason why he was killing himself. It literally sends chills down my spine.

I am glad that NJ enacted an anti bullying law. I think harsh consequences should be enforced and this shouldnt be taken so lightly anymore. I hope all other states follow the same path to help prevent bullying, suicide, and other mental and physical damages that is happening to these children. Maybe kids will ACTUALLY start getting the point!!

Rachael O'Hara said...

I agree with Emily, it is clearly at a point where something serious NEEDS to be done. Of course it is going to be difficult putting new laws into place and figuring out how we will all follow through with them. However, it is an issue that makes such a strong impact on people which I think will hopefully be a large motivating factor for those involved in the school systems to figure out a way for these new laws to work.

The comment about training students earlier is also a great idea. Unfortunately at this point students may be so accustomed to witnessing different acts of bullying that they may not even take much note of it when it happens. Students need to be made aware of all the different types of behaviors that can be labeled as bullying.
They should also be made aware of the idea that although sometimes the acts of bullying that they witness may seem small, those small things can add up. Students may not feel the need to stop an incident because it lasts only a minute, or may just be a small comment. But when these things happen over and over again, the smallest thing can become unbearable.

As was mentioned, we can set up as many anonymous reporting systems that we can think of, but the victims still may not think the outcome will be worth the trouble that comes with 'telling on someone'.
The students in our schools are the ones who have the most immediate access to these situations. So putting them in a position to recognize not only what counts as bullying but also the huge impact that even the smallest incidents can have on a person, can help stop situations before they get worse.

karenaf25 said...
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karenaf25 said...

I agree with Nick. Although violence should never be the answer there does come a time when enough is enough. Sometime bullies pick on a victim because they know he/she is not going to retaliate because they are scared. If this victim has done what he/sh were suppose to do like tell the proper people and still nothing changes he orshe may not have any other option. You can only be harrassed for so long. I bet that bully would not see that coming and may think twice before bothering him or her again. I also dont feel that the victim should be held accountable for striknig back because he was just standing up for himeself after no one else eased the problem.

Wendy said...

I LOVE the idea of having an anti-bullying group ran by students. I think it would be great to have a student body come together to realize the dangers of bullying. My only suggestion for a group like this would be to definitely have it supervised by the anti-bully specialist at that particular school. Without the supervision, the group could get out of control and may be causing harm instead of helping the cause.

As response to keeping the victims identity anonymous, I feel that should be up to that particular student. I agree with both Penina and Nick in different aspects. I agree with Penina in the sense that protecting the victims identity may be more safe for the child. The child won't fall under the stigma of being a victim and the bully wouldn't know who turned them in. On the other side, I agree with Nick that it may be important to the victims self worth to disclose who they are. It may be important to the victim to show that they can stand up for themselves.

Courtney Post said...

Bullying has become much worse since I was younger. A lot of that has to do with cyber bullying. People did not have the access to computers and cellphones like they do now. I am glad that there has been an anti-bullying law passed, however, i don't know however if it is the best thing either. Children do go through stages in growing up. For instance a boy may tease a girl by taking her crayons in class. The teacher has to report this as bullying however, he is just teasing her just because he has a crush on her. So there may be a problem with this law, but over all I do believe that this will help many children with bullying issues, and hopefully save lives.

Michelle Montoya said...

Bullying has evolved over the past generations, in today's society it has evolved into a crime. As shown in the article, their are laws and procedures that are to be followed after a student announces he or she is being bullied. It is sad how being bullied can psychologically affect someone to the point of taking there own life, like Phoebe Prince the 15 yr. old girl that committed suicide because she was being bullied. I agree with the article, there has to be a stop to all this bullying, the laws passed and procedures that are to be followed if someone is being bullied is a necessary cause to show that bullying will not be tolerated any longer. When I was a teenager I was bullied once to the point where I had to tell my parents, and my parents had to go into the school and talk to the teachers in order for the bullying to stop. Some teenagers avoid going to their parents or any adult and tell them their being bullied because their embarrassed, or ashamed. This is a dangerous way of hiding how they feel cause it could lead to a depression, which will cause them to commit suicide, as said in the article suicide rate amongst teenagers has increased more than 50 percent over 30 years. Due to all these statistics and studies on teenagers and bullying, I agree and support these laws and bills that have been passed for anti-bullying, also with the procedures teachers and principals must follow if notified of any bullying act in schools.

Gene Zannetti said...

I have spoken to quite a few people about bullying in school and the negative effects it has on the victim. The people I spoke to and myself feel that the bullying these days is even worse than times of the past because of the internet. Bullying does not end when school ends. Social media like myspace, facebook, skype, twitter, etc. make bullying potentially extend to time far beyond school. A student has far less escape from bullies than ever before. Wall comments, defriending, status updates keep a curious victim constantly on the ropes. Most people would advise to just not pay attention to the bullies, but now it is everywhere. Cliques continue to exclude certain students and alienate them. The internet offers reminders of the bullied child's exclusion. School can help these children by strictly enforcing anti-bullying policies. Teachers and administrators should also speak to the children about social media and anti-bullying. It is out there, so it must be addressed. Students need to know the serious ramifications for the victims of online bullying.

Nichole Draheim said...

I think that bullying in schools is a big problem these days and it should always be taken seriously. Even bullying outside of school should be take seriously. As a future teacher this law is something I feel like I should know inside and out. I do feel like there is a lot that goes into reporting an incident thought. I feel like the most important thing should be the safety of the students instead of having to go through all these loop holes in informing so many people about the incident. The incident of bullying should be taken care of first. In my opinion I do not believe in bullying at all and I do not like thinking that some kids can be so hurtful to others. I do not understand how one person can intentionally hurt somebody by physical bullying or verbal bullying. I believe that the victims of bullying should always feels safe and know that somebody is there to help them if they are being bullied. In the future I would like to see little bullying inside and outside of schools.

Lindsay Matassa said...

In addition, to what I already posted. The last two weeks the child I am a nanny for has been involved in two cases of bullying. He was talking to a child on the playground and as boys do they were name calling back and forth. The boy kept calling Jared stupid and Jared responsed with you have no life. The boy had a bullying report filled against Jared. The Jared filed a report against him. To complicate the case more, both of these boys have ADHD and are working on their social skills. What does the law say to do in a case like this?
The other day Jared came up and was upset because he felt attacked at his school. He had asked one of his FRIENDS why he was reading instead of doing science like everyone else. The next day the teacher pulled him aside and told him that they filed a bullying report against him because he said that too loud and it might have caused the other child embarrassment. Then the teacher rudely said to him "you really need to work on your social skills." Jared has a 504 for ADHD and under it explains how he is working on his social skills. This teacher bullied Jared and now there is a report being filled out about her.

My question is does this ever stop? To me this law was made with good intentions, but now it is becoming a real issue. It is being overused. Jared now feels like he cannot talk to anyone in school because he feels as though whatever he says or does is going to be considered bullying, but at the same time no one is helping him with his social skills. The way he comes home from school during the week and on a Friday is a huge difference. He comes home on Fridays in delight knowing he will not have to be back at that school tomorrow.

ChrisM said...

I believe the problem of bullying must be addressed to children at a very young age. It must be instilled upon them that it is not something that will be tolerated, the consequences of such actions and simply that it is not morally right. They must also be told to report to teachers or parents if they are being bullied themselves. Teacher and parents alike must also try to remain aware of any situations that are not being brought to their attention by the students. This is a problem that can and will never be totally eradicated, but educating children about this social dilemma in their earliest stages of schooling is the best preemptive tool.

Sidney Whitfield said...

I am really pro anti-bullying and all for the new law but like most things bullying has evolved over time and students have managed to hide it for so long, which proves they know the dangers of it but continue to do it, so I am not sure how the law is going to effect or eliminate bullying. There are ways around everything and studens are very tacticful when it comes to being sneaky. I just believe that as long as differences exist between people then so will bullying exist regardless of how we try an combat it.

Patty Fochesato said...

I think the Anti-Bullying Law is the first step toward ending bullying in school. I do believe children should be educated extremely young at home from their parent about school bullying. Thing are very different now then when I was in school. I believe the problem start with young children and the lack of parenting. I am not saying all the time but I think when a child is being a bully in school there might just be some dysfunctional home life going on. I found it hard to accept that children are born to be bullies; I believe it is learned behavior. I also believe it’s important to raise our children with the belief that its ok to be different, that’s what makes our world today. I think if acceptance is taught at home then it continues when the students are in the classroom. My son went to a all boy Catholic high school, which had a ZERO tolerance for physical bullying. They were told as freshman that it is a privilege to attend this school. If a student was found guilty of physical bullying he was asked to transfer to another school. When it came to verbal and cyber bullying the school was also extremely strict. The school psychologists would make the decision if the student should be asked to leave the school. I believe the Anti-Bullying Law can make a difference if it is followed in every report of bullying. It’s a shame that some students think its ok to bully another student. Once again I believe teaching acceptance at home can lower the incidents of bullying in school.