Thursday, April 1, 2010

Random Question Thursday: On Bullying

free speech

A story out of South Hadley, Mass. has my husband and me reliving an argument from a couple of years ago.

A 17-year-old high school student in the western Massachusetts town, Phoebe Prince, committed suicide after enduring months bullying that allegedly included physical assaults, vicious taunts and name-calling by other teens.

The tragedy has sparked a public outcry that students who participated in the shameful behavior be charged in connection with her death, and that school officials be held accountable for not protecting her from her tormentors.

Our positions haven't changed much since the discussion began in 2008 after a Missouri woman named Lori Drew was indicted on a charge of cyberbullying following the 2006 suicide of a teenager - Megan Meier. Drew was convicted but later acquitted of the crime.

I think our laws are sufficient with respect to harrassment and endangerment, and to change them in light of extreme cases will change our society in a really dangerous way. Making new laws that penalize "bullies," specifically people who use words as their weapons, will not only make meanness a little more stealth, but may also snag anyone who ever makes a protected but unwanted observation.

In the cases of bullying, I think we need to strengthen our kids and their ability to stand up for themselves and others. I think we do that by being brave even if we have to fake bravery.

He thinks we make societal changes through laws and penalties.

What do you think?

6 Comments:

Anonymous Barbara said...

This is a really good question. I agree that the existing laws are probably sufficient, but I'm not expert on the details on the law. I do think that we need to teach our kids how to stand up to bullying, but I also think that we need to do a lot of work between the "laws" and the "victims." There is so much that we can teach all children about ways to conduct themselves, to make their voices heard, to celebrate their differences, etc. The kids doing the bullying need that as much as the kids being bullied.

April 2, 2010 at 11:12 AM 
Blogger northpolemama said...

I think that kids learn bullying from adults. I also think that many an adult turns a blind eye to bullying which is where I think the action needs to lie. Adults, in the school and at home, need to stop acting like they don't notice this behavior. They need to step up and say it's wrong. When they do not only will it nip the situation in the bud but children will see that and mimic the appropriate behavior.

April 3, 2010 at 6:42 PM 
Blogger jennyq said...

I agree that the adults are more responsible in these situations than the other teens or children bullying. I do think the bullies should face repercussions, though. Its a tragedy, any way you look at it.

April 4, 2010 at 7:03 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the comment about the schools and the parents turning a blind eye to the bullying that is going on in our schools we all hear about it on the news and in the papers but what exactally is being done about it...take a good look at the schools around us..... months ago a 14 year old was arrested for beating up a security guard in the middle shcool in Lansingburg 2 months later a child fabricates a huge lie about an aide ....police were involved only to find out the child lied and the aide was dismissed from her job.....not only are the kids bullying kids now they are getting away with bullying the adults.....when will the shcool districts and these parents stand up and take action? I hope and pray that we never have to read in our papers or hear on the news that one of local children have taken their own lives because the parents and school disticts are just trying to save there own butts and not our children and staff that work in these schools

April 5, 2010 at 10:08 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bullying always was and probably always will be part of the growing up experience for many. What is disconcerting about this particular case is how heartless some of these teens are--actually putting up on the dead girl's Facebook page disparaging remarks AFTER the girl hanged herself, saying "she deserved it," etc. In general, I have witnessed that many (not all) of today's teens have a "Stuff Happens," attitude about life that is just cold.

April 5, 2010 at 12:30 PM 
Anonymous Marilyn said...

Bullying has become a very serious form of abuse to the victums. Where does it all begin, and how will our parents and professionl staff help to resolve it? Like most unpleasant situations in life bullying needs to be addressed immediately. Parents, professional staff and peers need to be open and honest to the situation and not dismiss the issue and believe "it" will go away. Issues just don't go away, issues need to be resolved with a strong plan of action, consistency in the plan without deviations from the plan and consequences. We must all be accountable for our behaviors and actions. Respect and dignity for all age groups.

April 5, 2010 at 2:41 PM 

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