Bullying is increasing, and in some districts could lead to lawsuits and parental fines
Student bullying in schools is increasing, even though district leaders have created anti-bullying programs to address the problem. And when schools fail to address bullying, lawsuits and even parental fines could result.
One in four students say they’ve been bullied, according to a report by YouthTruth, which conducts surveys and analyzes data about bullying. The report said that school bullying is on the rise, and that the top three reasons students say they’ve been bullied relate to their appearance, their race or skin color, and because other students thought they were gay.
Other key findings by YouthTruth: majority-white schools have higher rates of student bullying, particularly of non-white students, and bullying is worse in middle schools than high schools.
School districts that fail to prevent student bullying can find themselves in court. In Minnesota, families are suing Eastern Carver County Schools for not addressing multiple cases of racial bullying, WCCO-TV reported. The suit involves students at elementary, middle and high schools across the district, including a 7-year-old student who said he was punched in the face multiple times and was told he didn’t belong, WCCO reported.
DA’s Districts of Distinction honoree: P.A.C.E. remedies discipline problems, restores self-esteem and teaches digital citizenship skills
Meanwhile, a proposed ordinance in Wisconsin Rapids would require parents of children who bully other students to pay up to $313 if passed by the city’s Legislative Committee, as reported by the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune. Wisconsin Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Craig Broeren proposed the idea of an ordinance after a student was encouraged to kill herself via social media.
Many districts have created successful anti-bullying programs. For example, Bridgehampton UFSD administrators in New York have completed three years of training from a behavior specialist through the local Boards of Cooperative Educational Services to prevent problematic behaviors before they occur, DA recently reported.
“We have recently entered a rebuilding phase of these programs to ensure that we provide the best support for our students,” Literacy Specialist and Instructional Support Team and Dignity Act Coordinator Jessica Rodgers told DA.
One of DA’s recent Districts of Distinction honorees, Trussville City Schools in Alabama, created the P.A.C.E. program to combat student bullying on social media. P.A.C.E., for “Positive Attitudes Change Everything,” includes restorative justice practices and character education to positively remedy discipline problems, restore self-esteem, and teach personal and digital citizenship skills. “The P.A.C.E. program is an initiative tailor-made to meet our district needs, and it costs nothing,” Superintendent Pattie Neill told DA.
Resource: Bullying: A Module for Teachers