The Bullying Epidemic
Despite the trauma-and potential danger-of harassment, some schools don't do enough to protect kids, says the NEA's Gaye Barker.
Fortunately, several states are taking steps to combat the problem. In May, Colorado passed a law requiring all school districts to adopt bullying-prevention policies. In addition, Georgia and New Hampshire recently passed laws ordering schools to ban bullying. California, Michigan and Washington are weighing similar measures.
During the 2001-2002 school year, Massachusetts will spend $1 million on a bullying-prevention program to be used in elementary schools in 16 cities and towns. The program involves instituting classroom activities to discourage harassment and provide support for victims.
Five other schools have received a U.S. Department of Justice grant to implement a highly successful Norwegian anti-bullying curriculum called Blueprints. The two-year program calls for zero tolerance of harassment.
Kelly Summers wishes there were a similar program at her son's school. "No adult would put up with being stalked, beaten up and verbally harassed at work," she says. "Why should children have to endure a climate of fear at school?" --Lisa Collier Cool