I have to phrase this in a way everyone will get it. School bullying and cyber-stalking are out of control. These web applications that generate fake phone numbers to enable a stalker to pull this MUST be shut down or tightly regulated. If ordered by a judge, they should have to surrender any information the requester for such numbers gave to the site in order to be able to access such programs. Any students caught using this for the purpose of bullying other students should be expelled and put on house arrest for the rest of the school year and forced to do their classwork at home. They should also be ordered to go into psychiatric counseling at the parents’ expense–not the states.
Schools should be required to report to the parents of the victim(s) any incidents (even if perceived) of bullying within two hours of becoming aware of the concurrence. ANY teacher or administrator taking it upon himself/herself who decides not to report the incident to the parents OR the police if severe, should face disciplinary action up to and including termination as well as fines up to $5000 and forfeiture of their certification(s). If the bullying is severe enough to call law enforcement, the police should immediately have to place the bully in restraints and arrest him/her/them. It should also be up to the parents of the VICTIM whether or not to file charges–not the police or the school district.
It is time to protect our children and to separate them from a culture that permits silence and the continued torment of other students. Many of the crimes (yes crimes!) they throw under the label of “bullying” include physical assault, psychological torment, and/or sexual assault or molestation. Often it also includes some sort of verbal sexual harassment and/or repeated incidents. These are all things adults can either go to jail for and/or lose their jobs for. When children commit these acts on other children they should be strictly dealt with. There should truly be “zero tolerance” for this behavior in the schools.
This is only part of what I’m proposing to stem the tide of this garbage. How many more students are going to kill themselves before the end of the school year? I am wondering because right now there is NOTHING firm and rigid in a legal approach that has been put in place to protect them in most states at all. What are your thoughts? Can you think of any ways to help stop this? I do realize that my proposal is modeled somewhat after the Prison Rape Elimination Act, but since most of what I have seen occur when working for the corrections industry tends to remind me of what I saw in public school yards, that is why I came up with this.
The PREA gave parents and family members of bullied and extorted offenders an avenue to seek remedy within the laws of the land should officers neglect to report possible rapes and take measures to prevent offender suicide. Since so many bullying victims either attempt suicide or actually do it, this must be addressed specifically also. It is for that reason I strongly support sending bullying victims to a counselor to ensure their mental well-being. This is especially true if the student is known to be homosexual. Many do get picked on for their sexual orientation and this must also be stopped. No child deserves this treatment. As for measures like “lunch detention”, believe me, they are a joke. Those things do not work on a bully because a lot of the time to them, being in lunch detention or ISS is a “badge of honor” just like going to medium custody is an honor for an offender in prison when they bully others. In fact, a lot of the reason these measures do not work on many bullies is that some of them come from families that have family members which are incarcerated.
It is bad enough that many cannot even bring themselves to discuss this with their own parents out of fear, but school is the last place they should fear going to. We must make these institutions safer for ALL children and this is the only proposal I can think of to actually get the job done–or at least start the process of making a change for the better.
These suicides can be prevented if teachers and administrators are specifically trained in what to watch for, so I propose that training them to notice certain signs (unkempt appearance, giving away possessions, statements that could lead one to think they might harm themselves or others in retaliation, etc…).