Educational Editorial: Bullying in schools

By Dr. Bill Bosher, NBC12 Educational Specialist

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Charlottesville and Albemarle are working together to solve a pervasive problem…bullying.

While the term has been commonly known but seldom used until recent years, the fact is that bullies have and do exist wherever there is an opportunity to fill a power vacuum.

Bullying has many symptoms including exclusion, intimidation, and ridicule. In reality, it is the perceived or real power of one student over another.

The media for bullying can include physical contact, rumors, emails, threats, and the way a student positions himself. Surveys in the initiative show that 38 percent of the elementary students feel that they were bullied within the prior month.

In high schools, 32 percent say that they had been verbally bullied and 11 percent had been physically threatened in the previous month.

The enabling ingredient in bullying has always been to ignore it. It is not happening in our class or school -- they are just children -- it will work out.

Some advice that I gave to one of my sons may have been wrong. When he told me about a student who was pushing him in the cafeteria each day, I told him to walk away. Finally, he said, "Dad, what do I do when I can no longer walk away?" I responded, "take your best shot and know that you will face the consequences."

In an environment when the resolution to a conflict was a good pugilistic contest, this may have been a stopper, but today the implications are much greater. For students at Columbine, the "take your best shot" came with guns and many innocent young people lost their lives.

Bullying is in itself a symptom of a far greater problem -- a lack of discipline. I believe in the rights of all young people to have an education, but I believe even more in the rights of those who want an education to be free of incorrigibility.

Incorrigibility. Now, there's a another word that we don't use any more…

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