Saturday, November 19, 2011

School Staff Must Respond to Bullying

My school has a well developed bullying prevention and intervention program but I know that sometimes bullying still is ignored. I can't get ten year old Ashlynn, that hung herself because she was being bullied, this week off my mind. No one would help her get peers to stop calling her “fat”, “ugly,” and “a slut.” ” Her mother said, “She went to three different teachers, and they told her, ‘Ashlynn, you need to go sit down and stop tattling." We use the Steps to Respect curriculum. It points out that all staff have an obligation to receive any report of bullying and harassment and investigate it. We require teachers, counselors, and administrators to coach both the student being bullied and bullying separately and document a plan to address the bullying. Parents of both parties are informed. There is a mandated follow-up the next week because bullying is a pattern of behavior and frequently it keeps happening unless adults really get involved. I hope the tragic death of this young girl will make educators take their responsibility to keep schools safe.

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