Bullying & GA State Law

Apparently the State of Georgia has one of the strictest anti bullying laws as it has been given a A++ from BullyPolice.Org, which is a watch dog organization that advocates for bullied children and reports on State Anti-bullying laws. But is this law effective? According to the statistics that I found on BullyPolice.org, that were complied from the 2000 Census by Brenda High, bullying is still on the rise. Look at these figures:

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257,304 children are either victims or bullies. The sad thing is that I could not find the latest numbers, but I did find a article written by The Law Offices of Michael Lawson Neff which states, “State lawmakers also understand the gravity of bullying, and, in the past few years, have passed laws designed to curb bullying and help parents, teachers and school administrators properly punish bullies. But anti-bullying advocate are now citing a recent spate of suicides by bullying victims to point out that state laws are not being enforced and do not go far enough to identify and punish bullies” (http://bit.ly/1nYEB7L). The biggest conclusion that this article draws on is the fact that schools are essentially turning a blind eye because they don’t want to lose their funding. Georgia Law states, “that a school will be stripped of its state funding if it is found to have allowed more than three incidents of bullying from a single student. It also states that, after those three instances of bullying, a bully must be transferred to an alternative school away from his or her victim. According to the law, school systems found not complying will forfeit state funding.” The threat of losing state funding, apathetic teachers and administrators, many times, turn a blind eye to the bulling that they play an eyewitness role in.  

I can completely understand the reasoning behind pulling school funding if they are not dealing with the issues of bullying going on in their school system, but pulling school funding isn’t going to help solve the problem. In fact, I believe that it’s made the problem worse because those who might have stepped in and helped a student in trouble, will now, more than likely turn a blind eye because they don’t want to risk their job or their funding. There is no incentive for the school to really and truly deal with the problems regarding bullying. Why not offer to increase school funding for those school that systematically demonstrate that they are listening to their students, investigating the claims that are being made and are therefore proactively dealing with each individual bullying instance as it occurs. I also believe that the character education that they Department of Education mandated is helpful, but that’s not enough. Children most certainly need to understand their worth, but they also need to be taught how to peacefully resolve conflict. I think we can take Character Education a step forward and make it more proactive. Let’s get the children more active in school. Give them physical activities that can help them work out their frustrations and anger. Let’s teach them how to confront someone in a manner that will resolve the situation instead of lighting a fuse. Let’s teach them that no one is perfect, that we are all different and that that’s okay. Instead of fighting bullying by threatening the schools and punishing the bullies. Let’s work with them to get to the root reason as to why they are doing what they are doing. Instead of fighting violence with violence, lets get to the root of the problem. Hate, angry, violence, threats and punishments are not going to fix this issue. But love, kindness, truth, and getting to the root of this problems will definitely make some large strides in the right direction.

If you have been bullied and you’ve remained silent … let me encourage you to do one of these following steps:

  • Tell a safe person that you know: your parent, your teacher, your bus driver, your administration or a good friend.
  • If your to scared to speak up than call the anonymous bullying hotline at 1-800-SAY-STOP
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