Our View: Bullying can't be ignored

Published on Saturday, 5 August 2017 19:24
Written by Staff


The details vary but the story’s the same.

A mother is suing New Haven schools, saying administrators did nothing when her seventh-grade son was bullied and knocked unconscious during class.

Bullies eroded the confidence of an 11-year-old Indiana boy - to the point that 50 bikers offered him a protective escort on his first day of middle school.

 A 12-year-old New Jersey girl took her own life, unable to deal with the torment dealt her by her classmates.

Stopbullying.gov defines bullying as unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

And, as in the case of the New Jersey girl, it can be lethal. According to a 2015 report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third-leading cause of death for ages 10 to 14. Youths who frequently bully others and youths who are frequently bullied are at an increased risk for suicide-related behavior, the agency reported.

There have always been bullies, of course. Most of us can remember moments in our childhood when we were tormented. And we were often told to “tough it out.” We now know that’s bad advice. Bullying can threaten students’ physical and emotional safety at school and can negatively impact their ability to learn.

Bottom line: It’s vital that kids know that they can safely turn to a trusted adult and that help is available. This may be a task that already over-burdened school officials don’t need but it’s vital that they act - and act quickly - to protect vulnerable children.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Editorials on Saturday, 5 August 2017 19:24. Updated: Saturday, 5 August 2017 19:27.