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What Gets Funded Gets Done

Over 40 states have adopted anti-bullying laws. 

Will it make any difference to the average kid?  Will students in forty-some states now be protected from being slammed into a locker or hassled because of sexual preference or threatened on the internet or excluded from the group?

Probably not. 

New York State is the most recent to adopt anti-bullying measures.  Interestingly, the legislation excludes nonpublic schools (kids in private schools don’t bully one another?) and ignores cyber-bullying, believing that this behavior may be beyond the school’s purview and resources.

Wary of more unfunded mandates, the legislation requires schools to establish guidelines for training and to report serious incidents of bullying or discrimination.  Anti-bullying instruction should be folded into the existing character education requirements.  Some states have provided anti-bullying curriculums.

Spotlighting anti-bullying policies at the state level is a step in the right direction.  And no one wants more unfunded mandates.  But how about a funded one for a change?

Because here’s the deal:  Bullying doesn’t stop until kids are very clear that adults won’t tolerate it.  And adults won’t tolerate it if it is very clear that stopping bullying is an administrative and district priority.

Honestly, in my experience, some teachers and administrators either don’t recognize bullying when they see it or they think it’s just part of school life.  They need to be trained in what bullying looks like, how it can affect kids, how to prevent it, and how to effectively deal with it when it happens.  They need to understand that district expectations are that bullying will be addressed and that teachers will be held responsible for making sure they deal with it.  In addition, parents need to be brought on board so they can appeal for help or can begin to understand that their child is a perpetrator. 

So the legislation is a good thing.  It’s just not enough.

The video is from bullypolice.org


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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Practical Leadership are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.