Saturday, March 06, 2010

Bullying Is Serious Business

If your school, or your kid's school, treats bullying as "boys will be boys" or "those girls will grow out of being catty", they may be setting themselves up for a big time lawsuit:

In what experts say could be a landmark decision, a Michigan school district has been ordered to pay $800,000 this week to a student who claimed the school did not do enough to protect him from years of bullying, some sexually tinged.

This week's jury verdict against Hudson Area Schools puts districts on notice that it's not enough to stop a student from bullying another. There needs to be a concerted effort to stop systemic bullying, too.

Essentially, the federal court ruling says schools can be held responsible for what students do, if there is a pattern of harassment or if they don't do enough to provide a safe environment.

I don't understand why some adults don't take this more seriously.

Hat tip to NewsAlert.


allen (in Michigan) said...

It's just an expression of a problem that's common to any hierarchical organization: administration seizing control of the organization.

The school board is too far away from the individual cases of bullying to do anything about them. The teachers don't have the authority nor scope of authority to handle bullying. The administration could handle the situation but why bother? It would be messy, time-consuming and dangerous.

There's certainly no cause-effect relationship between bullying and trouble for administrators so in many, probably most, cases bullying can simply be ignored.

Mrs. C said...

This is sooo sad. The boy has been dealing with bullying for YEARS and the parents reported it and reported it... but let the kid continue to go into that unsafe environment.

Yes, the boy was a victim. YES, the school should have done way more and YES, the school deserves to have its hiney sued if staff knew there were an abusive environment and didn't adequately monitor that/make changes to protect him.

But wow. The parents couldn't have sent him to private school? Homeschool? Charter school? Virtual school?

I do understand what it's like to not be treated right by ps officials, but past a certain point, you need to just do what's best for your kid and move on.

Ellen K said...

My daughter was bullied for three years beginning in fourth grade. She went from being a happy bright child to one that isolated herself and dressed in dark clothes to become invisible. In all cases, the perpetrators and their parents made excuses for their behavior and the teachers refused to intervene. At least there is a bright edge, because my daughter graduated with high honors and works in a creative field that she loves. The other four girls ended up with drug issues, sex issues and two are in jail. So at some level, there is justice. Oh, by the way, her offense was refusing to become a cheerleader because it would interfere with her dance classes.