The Need for Stronger Bullying Laws

Bullying is a very negative action and creates major problems in our society. Nothing good ever comes out of bullying someone. It can however change someone’s life forever. It actually does ruin many lives both of the bully and of the victim. The bully if caught and punished will then have a criminal record for the rest of their life. Unless they get psychological help, they will probably end up being a repeat offender. The victim often becomes depressed, withdrawn and often times either commits suicide or becomes a bully themselves. Bullying is more than just a part of growing up.
It is a very violent form of aggressive behavior. Anti-bullying Laws will never completely solve the problem; only mask it temporarily until everyone starts working together to stop the root of this cruel behavior. Adults know that this behavior is wrong but many time don’t know when or if they should step in and do something. The important thing to remember when deciding to step in is how the adult feels about taking control of the situation versus how the victim might feel about having a parent or elder stick up for them. Sometimes the victim feels that elder involvement may make the situation even worse.
They often feel the only way to solve the problem is to handle it themselves. “Anti-bullying laws are being enacted in almost every state in the U. S. However, they are not being enforced and are nowhere near strong enough to identify and make the abuser stop or continue to repeat his/her actions again on someone else or even sometime the same victim they began with. Only 44 of our 50 states currently have anti-bullying laws in place. Ohio does have a law in place and is found in the Ohio Revised Code, section 3313. 666. The law prohibits harassment, intimidation, or bullying in schools.

It went into effect on March 30, 2007. ” (University of Nebraska, 2006). This law applies to every public school in Ohio, however, does not apply to private schools. So, if the law only applies to certain people then how is it supposed to be a solution to the problem? Bullying happens very often off school grounds or even in the home. Often the school will deny that there is a problem and that the victim is either lying or exaggerating the story. When this happens the parent needs to take their complaints even further. The superintendent of the school ystem should be their next step. If that does not work they can then contact an attorney or even their city’s police force. All of these venues need to be reminded that refusal to recognize that the problem is going on violates the Ohio law prohibiting bullying. “Many parents end up feeling like they have exhausted all efforts in dealing with school authorities and/or they do not feel school officials have been receptive enough in meeting the child’s needs, especially when the child continues to being a victim of ongoing harassment, bullying, assaults, or emotional bullying.
If the adult or parent feels this way then they should not sit back and give up or feel defeated. They can however, pursue other means of support from medical, mental health, social services or even community based programs. But lastly, they can also contact the police. ” (McGraw, 2008). As a parent myself of a severely bullied child, this advice really hits home for me. A parent often feels backed in a corner and helpless not being able to stop their child’s pain. This was an excellent book to read to teach parents, teachers and administrators that there is always help out there.
They just have to know the channels to follow. In an article from the Register-Herald in Beckley, West Virginia, dated February, 26, 2011, a house panel agreed to arm educators with a stronger law to cope with cyber bullying over objections by some opponents that it goes too far by dealing with off campus texting and other wireless harassment. One major dispute was schools right to deal with bullying beyond school grounds, even on a vacation, for example. But in that scenario the bullying would have to spill over into school days and then disrupt the education process before it falls under a teachers right to act.
Children should not be afraid to go to school. No matter where kids are no matter what time of year it is, a school now has jurisdiction to discipline now when they come back to school. Although, that is a great law parents also need to be more involved in the children’s lives. They need to know what is going on. They need to make their children feel that their home is their “safe place” and that they can come to their parents whenever problems arise. But the problem today is that the economy pulls parents in to working multiple jobs while older siblings or babysitters are left to care for the younger ones.
Schools need to pay more attention and make use of their city’s Juvenile Court System to deal with unruly and abusive students and children. In another article by Tanya Roth of the York County Virginia Gazette dated August 9, 2010, a case that resulted in suicide caused by bullying resulted in a wrongful death suit seeking ten million dollars in damages. The mother of a high school freshman is suing school officials and one sheriff’s deputy for failing to enforce the anti-bullying policies she believes would have saved her sons life, but did not. Her son hanged himself on May 31, 2010.
The suit details a meeting that took place at the school concerning the bullying, with all the defendants present. The school personnel should have been aware of the risk of emotional damage caused by the continued bullying, and should have enforced the anti-bullying policies available to them. Parents, elders and victims themselves are grasping at straws as a means to stop this physical and mental abuse. “Some parents are even filing law suits based on the theory of “premises liability. ” Under this theory, occupiers and owners of land, including school, are required to keep their premises safe for those who are legally allowed to be there. (University of Nebraska, 2006). These laws are only a band-Aid to the reoccurring problem and in most cases never fully help the victim. The mental damage never goes away therefore just gives a victim “false hope” that they are going to be safe. Prevention of bullying needs to happen at the school, in class, and at the individual level. Bullying can also be prevented at home. “At the school level there needs to be better supervision of the students’ activities, an interesting, fun outdoor environment, contact phone numbers for the students and the parents, and teacher training groups.
In the classroom there are many things teachers and students can do. They can make class rules against bullying and have activities that encourage good behavior. In the classroom, meetings between the teachers, parents, and students can help to prevent bullying. Teachers or other authorities can have serious discussions with the bully to reduce the amount of bullying that occurs. ” (McGraw, 2008). But everyone needs to wake up and realize that there is a problem in every state of the U. S. and in many cases in every home.
Bullying creates a vicious circle. It makes the victim scared of the bully, which encourages the bully and makes it easier for him/her to bully the victim again and again. Repeated bullying keeps adding to the intensity and makes the victim more scared and it many cases suicidal and the circle keeps going on; unless the pattern is broken by someone outside this horrible circle. I chose this topic because I am amazed at the amount and severity of bullying that is allowed to go on in schools, the public and in many cases behind closed doors at home.
After reading several books and articles and hours or research that I have spent on this topic; I am convinced more than ever that people truly need to take this problem seriously both at home and in school. The biggest problem is that both parents and schools turn their heads as a means to not have to admit that there is a problem to begin with. So, I am back to my original question: Are anti-bullying laws a solution, a band-aid to the problem or just a means of false hope to make the victim temporarily feel safe? I am not sure this problem will ever be solved.
Bibliography
McGraw, J. (2008, November). Jay McGraw’s Life Strategies for Dealing with Bullies. New York: Aladdin. University of Nebraska Lincoln. (2006, June). Facts about Bullying. Retrieved from www. targetbully. com/wst_page6. html Porterfield, M. (2011, February 26). Panel Agree to Stronger Bullying Laws. The Register -Herald. Retrieved from http://www. register-herald. com/local/x1709532935/Panel-agrees-to-stronger-bullying-laws/ Roth, T. (2010, August 9). School Bullying: Student Suicide Leads to Suit. York County, Virginia Gazette. Retrieved from:

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