Yes…I have been quiet as of late. I have contemplated this school bullying issue again and again. I will say this and you can find out for yourself. Take the time to look through a high school rule book in Texas and compare it to the rules for offenders in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (which is in the offender rule book). The similarities might shock you.
Why is it in schools they worry about the peach-fuzz Johnny is growing on his chin or the piercings Jenny has in her eyebrow but they say the bullying, which is actually either physical assaults or emotional abuse–not to mention cyber-bullying is a “phase”? That, for lack of a better word, is bullshit.
The teachers are the “officers”–powerless to defend themselves and other students from bullies for fear of litigation or losing their job. The Texas Youth Commission officers are not much different. The administrators are like the prison wardens, only the prison warden has tools at his/her disposal to stop offenders from being bullied to the point of suicide and such.
Since the days of John Dewey, the school climate has drastically changed. America has a growing population of gang kids and/or kids of hardened criminals rising up in the ranks of the students and they are creating problems on the campuses. Family members often ignore or encourage the behavior, blaming everything on the teachers and admins or blaming the other kid (the victim). When the hell did we start conditioning or students to be “good inmates”? School should be a sanctuary for learning, not institutions for control and indoctrination.
The prisons have the Prison Rape Elimination Act in place to help protect offenders. If society is so willing to protect them, why is it that we are failing in this nation to protect our children? I think every parent who has a son or daughter being bullied should actually study the PREA. The language in it is strong, but a new act can be drafted based on that to protect students from bullies. Here are a few things I propose…
1. Any time a student is found to have been bullied, the school must notify parents within 2 hours of becoming aware of it.
2. If a student has been physically assaulted, the bully is to be treated the same way as if he/she committed the crime of assault off-campus–meaning that being at school does NOT exempt students from obeying the law and does not give schools the option to NOT report crimes to the police department. If they have to report child abuse when suspected in the home, then this should also be a requirement.
3. The school must report and prosecute all physical assaults and take measures to fully protect the victims of physical assaults of any nature, which includes sexual assaults.
4. Sexual assaults ON CAMPUS are to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and if it occurs on school property, administration should have to fill out incident packets to turn over to police officers for use in the prosecution of the perpetrator within 2 hours of becoming aware of the assault(s).
5. Victims of bullying should never have to be moved to another school for protection. It is the bullies that should be split up and sent to other schools at their parents’ expense. Hit the parents in the pocket-book, they will learn to control their children.
6. Any school official not reporting bullying incidents to parents and/or taking proper action against what amounts to be criminal acts should face automatic disciplinary hearings and possible loss of licenses from the Texas Education Agency. This will stop a lot of these administrators from enabling and becoming complacent. They should also be able to face penal charges in severe cases and civil charges in the lower degree offenses if not reporting them.
7. The way I see it, their rights end where the next victim commits suicide over the issue. In cases where it is found that parents enabled their son/daughter to torment another student, they should be fined in successive amounts for their negligence in each offense. Money collected from fines can be used to pay for supplies for needy students and uniforms (if schools require those).
8. It should be expressly stated in the act that no teacher or school official will face penalties under the law for taking appropriate actions to protect themselves and other students from those who seek to harm them during an incident. This way they can step in to break up altercations and such. The staff should not be expected to take beatings any more than the bullied child. This would give districts some teeth in dealing with bad situations.
9. All teachers and administration officials will be required to take PMAB classes to learn proper ways of restraining violent, out of control students. Parents will sign an agreement that they know teachers are trained in this and that if their student gets out of control, they can be restrained, releasing the district from liability.
10. Students with severe behavior disorders that require psych meds will either take those meds or not attend school until they do so. Parents will make sure this happens or face child neglect charges.
11. Students prone to violent outbursts will not be educated in the regular classroom after 2 outbursts, but will be taught in a separate classroom provided and monitored closely. After 2 outbursts this will be permanent. This is only reserved for students with severe behavioral issues.
12. The profession of teaching in the State of Texas will become an “at will” position in order to effectively enforce bullying policies. This means when educators aren’t doing their job with these bullies, they can be fired without all the union bullshit. If failing to report assaults and such to the police and to the victims’ parents, they should face the same penalties for that as for failing to report child abuse.
Anyway, these are just ideas I’m tossing around in my head. What do you think?