Bullying in Schools: Can It Be Stopped?
Even though schools face cost issues in education of staff and anti-bullying enforcement, bullying is a serious problem that is not being properly addressed. With the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado, where on April 20, 1999 two students started a massacre where 12 students and one teacher were killed, and suicides in multiple places, it’s clear that bullying causes tragedies. All of the events, in some way, are related to bullying. In recent years, there has been more media coverage of incidences of bullying and its repercussions. There was a girl in Massachusetts named Phoebe Prince that after being bullied for months went home after school on January 14, 2010 and committed
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‘It’s probably the most comprehensive bill in the country’, he said” (Contrada). This is a little late for Phoebe, but will hopefully prevent it from happening again. Here in Oregon, the anti-bullying laws (ORS 339.351-339.364) are fairly basic. They leave it up to school districts to adopt their own policies, based on the current law. The school districts have certain things that the policies must contain, but they are broad in scope. Among other things, the districts need to provide a statement against bullying, give some definitions of bullying and harassment, statements of consequences and reprisals and a few other statements. This is up to the administrators interpretation. The districts are then left to decide how to implement the policy. Some districts are more strict about these policies than others. Here in Ashland, the policies are semi-vague. I looked at the Student Parent Handbook I have for Ashland Middle School and all I found was one small paragraph on the topic of bullying. It reads, “Harassment, bullying or intimidation, including cyberbullying, hazing, racial or sexual harassment, intimidation, or any act that injures, degrades, or disgraces a student or staff member is not permitted or tolerated. Students who are found to be responsible will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion as per district policy GBNA/JFCF” (19). It does not define