68°Mostly Cloudy

Favola Introduces Anti-Bullying Legislation

by Katie Pyzyk — January 18, 2013 at 10:55 am 2,354 167 Comments

State Senator Barbara Favola (file photo)State Senator Barbara Favola (D) has introduced a bill in the Virginia General Assembly aimed at eliminating instances of bullying in schools.

The legislation defines the term “bullying” and requires school boards to prohibit students and school employees from engaging in any actions that fall under the definition. The bill also requires local school boards to implement policies and procedures for reporting, investigating and addressing acts of bullying.

The part of the bill defining bullying reads:

“Bullying” means any aggressive and unwanted behavior that is intended to harm or humiliate the victim; involves a real or perceived power imbalance between the aggressor or aggressors and victim; and is repeated over time or causes severe emotional trauma. “Bullying” includes behavior motivated by a real or perceived differentiating characteristic of the victim and cyber bullying. “Bullying” does not include ordinary teasing, horseplay, argument, or peer conflict.

The legislation requires each of the school boards around the state to add a portion to its code of student conduct addressing bullying by July 1, 2014. This would prohibit bullying in classrooms, on a school bus, on school property and at school-sponsored activities.

Each code of conduct must also be updated with provisions to protect students and school employees who come forward to report instances of bullying, and must allow the reporting individuals to remain anonymous. School administrators or their designees would be required to promptly investigate every credible report of bullying.

“Sen. Favola patroned this bill because she believes it is an important message to put language in the law to protect our children and create safe learning environments,” said Legislative Assistant Arlene Spinelli. “Studies demonstrate that when bullying takes place in the school environment, academic performance is impacted and suffers. This issue is a priority of the Virginia Education Association.”

The bill is currently awaiting a vote in the state Senate Education and Health Committee.

  • Deadite

    “eliminating instances of bullying in schools”

    Yeah, okay. Good luck with that.

    • The Wolfe

      Good luck indeed.

      My son, who attends APS, is quick of mind and hand but slow of feet.

      When he went to Mckinley Elementary he was taunted. Because his tormenters could outrun him.

      When I attended elementary school in Alexandria (1960s) I was the smallest male in my grade.

      Taunting? Heck yeah.

      Physically shoved around? Heck yeah.

      Did they do it twice?

      Aw heck no Sparky.

      I saw my son bullied on the playground by some of his “best friends”. He was in tears.

      I taught him how to deal with bullies.

      He’s now at Yorktown. He protects other kids from bullies.

      Even kids he doesn’t know.

      Showed him “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Atticus Finch has always been a personal hero.

      I forget who wrote it but the quote is “For evil to triumph all that is necessary is for good men to do nothing”.

      I apologize for the sexism; it’s a direct quote. I’ve know some stand-up folks of all genders, backgrounds and preferences.

      • drax

        Nice story.

        Meanwhile, some kids just keep getting beaten up. They aren’t capable of fighting back successfully no matter how many times they are “taught.” And they are often bullied in other ways, even on the internet. And some even commit suicide from bullying.

        These little stories about “standing up to bullies” make us feel good, and sometimes they work, but this is about times when they don’t.

        • Hee-Haw

          So what’s your solution, cause you seem to keep posting this same comment throughout the article ??

          • drax

            Why do I even need to explain? The solution is (sometimes) for teachers, etc. to intervene and stop the bullying. I can’t believe I even have to explain that, let alone defend it. Fighting, harassment, etc. are against the rules and should be stopped by adults.

          • Hee-Haw

            You don’t have to defend anything. I just wanted to see if you actually had a legit answer.

          • drax

            That’s silly. Of course I do. You already knew it too.

  • SteamboatWillie

    In before the autobot troll says that if the government allowed kids to drink Coke and have recess, then there would be no bullying.

  • novasteve

    Say if ordinary teasing, horseplay, argument, etc causes the extreme emotional trauma they are trying to prevent? How is humiliation defined? Cyberbullying? So this extends outside of the schoolhouse? If you didn’t violate the first amendment without that, you surely did with it.

    • Hee-Haw

      Bullying is pretty straightforward, you know it when you see it.

      • Kat

        Really? “Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.” — stopbullying.gov (The first sentence of Favola’s definition is awfully close to the first part of the definition on that site.) Bullying has become a big problem, because the definition has been expanded. If Sally isn’t part of a certain clique, that’s bullying? It’s a lot of things, but I don’t think it’s bullying. Gossip can become rumor and that’s bullying?

        • Hee-Haw

          I actually agree with your last 2 points, so I don’t know why you gave me a “really?”

        • saddad

          ” If Sally isn’t part of a certain clique, that’s bullying? ”

          when susy tells debbie, that if debbie wants to stay in susy’s clique, debbie must never talk to sally. And susy, who is the most popular kid in the class, says that to everyone. And since Sally is already “different” in some way – too shy, too odd, to poor in social skills, too fat, too ugly, to “gay” or whatever – its not hard for debbie to decide its not worth risking Susy’s wrath. And then Sally ends up with no friends, lonely, troubled, depressed, maybe suicidal.

          • SoArl

            Your description of 3rd grade girl drama was just too perfect.

      • novasteve

        That’s a subjective standard. No doubt you would think a christian giving a gay student a hard time would be bullying. But would you think a gay student giving a christian a hard time is bullying?

        Would an athiest repeatedly saying to a religious kid “there’s no such thing as God” be considered bullying like a christian telling an athiest or jew “you’re going to hell!” would be viewed as bullying?

        I’d have less of an issue with this if it were equally and objectively applied, however I have little faith that will happen.

        • SteamboatWillie

          Don’t forget the War on Christmas!

        • Hee-Haw

          In your example, what are the christian and gay student giving each other a hard time about ? Its the context that defines bullying.

          • novasteve

            Their beliefs. The christian tells the gay he’s doomed to hell. The gay tells the christian he believes in a fairy tale imaginary sky friend. Stuff like that. If there were trangsgender students it would be considered bullying for people to state their objection to that person for being in the opposite sex bathroom. This will open a pandora’s box.

          • NovaPud

            and the “real or perceived power imbalance” is a part of that context.

    • drax

      Yes, this is a problem that is hard to define. Yet it’s a problem we obviously should deal with, and I commend her for trying.

      I hope actual lawyers, rather than pretend Internet ones, get together and tighten up her language and make this happen.

  • CourthouseChris

    Ohh man, a certain someone’s #3 favorite topic to whine about. This is going to be good.

  • tumblebum

    Signs that read ‘no bullying within 200 ft of school” should take care of this problem.

    • B22201

      Exactly! I’m pretty sure that a bully isn’t going to stop being one because it’s against the code of conduct of the school.

      • Hee-Haw

        I think tumble was being sarcastic.

        • B22201

          I know. . .

      • drax

        Like every single law and rule, it needs to be enforced too.

        • Marie Antoinette

          Oh Drax! Enforce every single law? Just like you were a proponent of Obama NOT doing? LOL.

  • Venn Diagram

    So already the definition fails because of the mention of the word perceived. A bully is not going to perceive that his/her behavior is anything more than teasing or horseplay or ‘peer conflict’ – whatever that is. One who is bullied is going to perceive any such slight in a much different way. Whether it is an individual instance or repeated over time, it can still cause severe emotional trauma.
    What is to stop a N-S type to claim bullying because he/she PERCEIVES it, which can mark an innocent as a bully – the definition does nothing to try to achieve some sort of balance. We (usually) don’t convict people based on hearsay evidence, which is all perception is. True bullies can ply their trade with no witnesses.

    • Deadite

      Bullying is in the eye of the beholder.

  • KalashniKEV

    Bullying is an important part of the socialization process.

    Truth.

    • drax

      What about the kids who commit suicide due to bullying, Kev? Is that part of their socialization?

      • KalashniKEV

        Are the kids hopped up on psychotropics?

        • drax

          Got a straight answer yet?

    • cuinhell

      And we can see how well it worked on you.

  • jackson

    The only way to fight violence is with violence.

    So said Kev on this board.

    Using that logic, we should instead be encouraging bullying. When everyone is a bully, no one will be a bully.

    • CW

      Well, you’re sort of right, even though I believe you were joking. I do honestly think that much of the increase in bullying can be attributed to the fact that the system has tied the hands of victims by getting kids in a lot of trouble for phyically standing up to bullies. The bullies know that most kids won’t fight back because the system is against them and the victim will end up getting in trouble.

      • jackson

        No, bullies bully because they’re jerks, and/or it’s a learned behavior and their parents are bullies to them. Or they don’t get any attention at home, or they’re physically abused themselves.

        “The system won’t allow my victims to fight back” is NOT the overriding factor in whether or not someone is a bully.

        • CW

          So I guess we should just stop incarceration of murderers and thieves too, and start feeling bad for them as well, like you do for bullies, because clearly they learned that behavior at home, the poor little things.

          • jackson

            That’s not what I meant at all (and I think you know that). I gave reasons why they might be bullies and pointed out that your “bullies know that most kids won’t fight back because the system is against them and the victim will end up getting in trouble” is simply not the reason people bully.

          • CW

            It might not have been what was in your mind, but it is surely a consequence of your line of reasoning. You are postulating that humans act solely based on experiences during their formative years, and that fear of consequences of an action serve as no barrier to preventing that action. Therefore, you are advocating that our justice system, which deters crime based on a fear of consequences, should be disbanded.

          • jackson

            And you are prescribing very adult reasoning (my victim has no recourse due to the current nature of the justice system) to a 10-year-old bully. Fine, some kids are just jerks and their home lives are fine and their parents are wonderful and some kids are just bad. I wasn’t saying we need to sympathize with the bullies at all.

            It’s a very big leap for you to say I pity all bullies and want the justice system disbanded. I’m actually in favor of tough penalties for violent offenders.

          • CW

            That’s fine then, but you and I disagree on whether or not a 10 year old is more likely to bully if (s)he knows that his/her victim is unable to fight back. I think the answer is yes.

          • Jackson

            Disagreeing is fine (see, we’re not bullies here!). You’re also assuming 10-year-old victims don’t stand up for themselves because they are more afraid of getting in trouble than they are of the bullying.

          • drax

            I can think of at least 3 reasons a 10-year-old victim wouldn’t fight back:

            - afraid of even more bullying or escalated violence
            - afraid of getting in trouble (he actually cares about his record unlike the bullies)
            - doesn’t believe in fighting

            The point is that he shouldn’t have to fight just to not be harassed.

    • drax

      No, you just arm the weak kids.

    • KalashniKEV

      I said the only thing that stops Violence is Violence… and it’s the truth.

      Since the “bullying” we’re talking about here is not limited to physical violence, it’s only marginally relevant.

      Favola’s legislation is a disservice to children. Some day these coddled youngsters are going to get steamrolled by the real World.

      If I were compiling a checklist for a young person, “Stand up to a bully” would be right there on the list next to “Learn to swim/ ride a bike” and “Change a tire.”

      • WeiQiang

        so, the decrease in violent crime that jurisdictions experience is only attributable to the INCREASE in violence against the criminal? is this what you’re saying? violent criminals should only be dealt with by an overwhelming violent response? decreases in violent crime are not due to the violent response.

        it’s a shame that violent conflicts have always been settled by the annihilation of the violent instigating actors … oh wait, they haven’t.

      • CW

        KEV – I agree completely, except that the system is flawed, and standing up to a bully will put a kid in juvi while the bully goes unpunished.

  • novasteve

    Notice that the people so anti bullying are bullying posters on here they don’t agree with? I hadn’t even posted yet and people were already insulting me. Now add in insults to Kev..

    • SteamboatWillie

      You should define this bullying that you reference, its being a subjective standard and all.

    • drax

      The most bullying I see is from the pro-bullying folks, saying that bullying is “normal” or blaming the victim.

    • KalashniKEV

      Leave me out of it. I can handle their comments without crying “victim” all the time.

    • Jackson

      How was what I said an insult? His statement was in regards to gun violence, but it applies to all violence.

    • MC 703

      That’s what you do. If someone disagrees with you passionately, you call it bullying.

  • Clarendon Cruiser

    I thought teachers, etc are already suppose to intervene when violence occurs between students on school property?

    So we are now going to put a layer of bureacracy on it, wasting everybody’s time in the process of doing that.

    what is enforcement going to look like? House arrest of the bully? Jail time for the bully?

    • CW

      Where does this bill mention violence? This isn’t about violence. That’s the exact hole in the law that this is trying to cover.

  • grow a set

    Really? We are doing are children a disservice with this nonsense. How about teaching our children to stand-up for themselves like my parents and many others did for our generation and generations before instead of babying them their entire lives. It’s worked damn well for my children. A bully pushes you…push them back. He embarasses you, guess what worked in my school…do the old “flagging” of the kid in front of the girls gym class…that will teach him. Teach you kids to speak up. If it continues, how about us as parents speak with the kid’s parents like adults as was done for years. “Bullying” in some form doesn’t stop when you become an adult, it just evolves into something different…there are always going to be agressive people whether at work or wherever that are going to try and push you around to get their way, humuiliate you to try and make themselves look better…and Babs Favola and others aren’t going to be there to protect you…but if you learn from a young age to stand-up for yourself, you won’t need others to protect.

    • Hee-Haw

      I agree with this, but not all parents teach this to their kids. I don’t know if the bill will do anything to curb bullying, but I am sick of the coddling and “everyone gets a trophy” mentality we have toward kids now.

      • drax

        Do either of you have children?

        • Hee-Haw

          yea, I have 2 young ones and I plan on teaching them how to stand up for themselves. I also plan on teaching them the lessons they can learn from losing.

        • saddad

          Im sure they dont. that approach rarely works, and is much harder for the typical victims, who typically aren’t that swift with social strategies to begin with, and are often lacking in confidence.

          • SoArl

            Really? It just worked for my kid a few weeks ago. She stood up for herself and now the boys who were teasing her follow her around the playground. I guess it depends on the kid and the situation…

          • drax

            Of course it depends on the situation. And the kids.

            If you had a kindergartner getting slapped around every day by a crowd of 5th-graders, you wouldn’t say “stand up for yourself.” You’d call the principal.

    • novasteve

      They might as well teach them cheating skills because many cheat in the workplace etc to get ahead. Being honest, etc in the workforce isn’t usually a good thing. It’s a cuthroat world. To deny kids preparation for it is going to hurt them and society when they can’t hack it in the real world.

      • Rory

        They will learn to cheat on their own.

        Depending on the subject, those who cheat are really cheating themselves in many educational situations.

        • novasteve

          Not really, because you have to learn some dishonesty. Imagine being completely honest in a job interview. you’d never get hired. You have to learn that there are instances where it’s not only okay to lie or spin, but it’s necessary. People cheat all the time in the professional world. Scientists cheat, etc. There’s not much honesty in the real world. Politicians are professional liars and cheaters.

          • xarl

            what a sad world you live in…

          • drax

            You mean like “yes, I’m a lawyer”?

    • APS parent

      And here comes the obnoxious jerk post about how kids should just get tough.

      As the parent of a vulnerable child, let me say that you make me thoroughly sick.

      My kid simply isn’t capable of fighting back. Nor should she have to. She has a RIGHT to go to school free from harassment, and should not have to take responsibility for stopping it.

      Do you go around telling old ladies who encounter a 200-pound linebacker with a knife in an alley to just hit back too?

      You don’t know what you’re talking about, and ironically, your post is a bit like bullying.

      • novasteve

        So is yours, APS parent. You are huring insults at someone for not sharing your views.

        • jackson

          It’s just normal horseplay, steve, not a bullying incident.

        • dras

          Insults aren’t always bullying, steve. And you insult people here daily.

      • BallstonHomeowner

        I’m sorry to say, but your child is going to have a difficult time in the working world when she grows up. There’s no vice principal she can complain to if people gossip about her at work. There’s no one handing out detentions to Clarendon jocks yelling derogatory things on the street.

        But most importantly, it really won’t be possible for Mommy to accuse posters on a website of “bullying” when they hold an opinion based on personal experience that differs from yours.

        • APS parent

          You think I don’t help my kid stick up for herself to the extent she can? Of course I do. But she will never be able to fully do that.

          Yes, there are people to help her, in school and the real world. And I will teach her that. I will teach her never to accept being victimized, and to do something about it, and that includes getting help. And this law may be part of that.

          Again, she has a RIGHT not to be victimized, and a RIGHT not to have to deal with threats all by herself.

          And this is not about “gossip,” it’s about kids being harassed, sometimes to the point of suicide.

          • novasteve

            A right to not be victimized? Does she also have a right to not get offended or made to feel uncomfortable? The world is not a nicne and pretty place, and there’s lots of unpleasant people and things out there that if you get sheltered from you ‘ll never be able to cope with when you’re an adult if you didn’t learn to develop an immunity to it. That which does not kill you only makes you stronger.

          • BallstonHomeowner

            She absolutely has a RIGHT not to deal with threats at all, by herself or otherwise. However, existing assault laws and school regulations already protect her from threats.

            Sen. Favola’s bill on the other hand forces schools to enact rules abridging what would otherwise be protected speech if not for the school’s legal ability to do so under it’s role as “in loco parentis” (“in the place of the parent”).

            Although “humiliating” someone to their face or behind their back may be hurtful, it is still protected speech outside the schoolhouse gate. Even more so for off-campus cyberbullying – which schools have repeatedly struggled to police because of 1st Amendment issues.

            As such, your daughter has NO RIGHT not to be victimized – especially online. Rather than trying to have to school protect her in a way unrealistic to the world she will graduate into, teach her to fight back better. Teach her to find the bullies’ vulnerabilities and verbally attack those. Big nose, ginger hair, impoverished family – it doesn’t make a difference. Nothing is out of bounds. If she hits a core vulnerability just a few times, they’ll leave her alone.

          • saddad

            “than trying to have to school protect her in a way unrealistic to the world she will graduate into,”

            The idea that five and six year olds should already be learning to deal with the viciousness of jerks is absurd. Let them FIRST develop intellectually and emotionally.

          • novasteve

            Great post ballstonhomeowner. In addition, the solution to “cyberbullying” is to LOG OFF if it bothers you.

          • drax

            “However, existing assault laws and school regulations already protect her from threats.”

            I don’t know if that’s true. We’ve had some reports of suicides due to bullying lately.

            If it’s true, at least someone is acknowledging that such policies should exist, instead of blaming the victims.

          • APS parent

            @novasteve – A right to not be victimized? Does she also have a right to not get offended or made to feel uncomfortable?

            No, just a right not to be victimized. I didn’t say that other stuff, you did.

          • novasteve

            Victimized is subjective. I can say that I’m a victim if I can’t pray in class.

          • KalashniKEV

            Oh, if only every Victim in the world could invoke their “right to not be victimized.”

          • BallstonHomeowner

            @drax I’m not sure how you read suicides into “threats”. If someone is threatening to punch the girl, that is an illegal threat known as assault. (If they actually punch her, it is battery.)

            Calling her names or mocking a disability is not a threat. Even if such repeated words spoken leads the victim to choose suicide, there is no legal liability on the speakers. Though unquestionably sad, suicide is ultimately a choice made by the victim per definition. Very different than threats.

          • drax

            So believe people have a right not to be victimized, Kev?

            And you believe that those who can defend themselves should, and those who can’t should be defended by others?

          • KalashniKEV

            @ Drax.

            1) I take our right seriously, so I have to ask- “Victim” of what?

            2) I believe in preparedness and being as capable an individual as you can become. I also believe in self-reliance, so hoping that there is some “other” random authority figure or courageous bystander nearby just doesn’t make any sense.

          • drax

            Do you believe that police, teachers, whatever should never help anyone who is a victim? I doubt that, Kev.

            I agree that someone should stand up for themselves when possible. But sometimes they can’t. That’s a fact. And it’s especially true of a child.

            Telling someone, especially a child, that they must always defend themselves and never ever expect or ask for help is beyond insane. It’s denying the basis of civilization.

      • SoArl

        I get where you’re coming from – she should should be able to go to school without getting harassed. However, I’ve tought my kid to stand up for herself if someone starts teasing her (she’s really small for her age so a perfect target for the older boys). I don’t want her growing up thinking its okay for people to push her around.

        • APS parent

          It goes without saying that you teach a kid to stand up for herself.

          But that’s often not enough. If it were, there wouldn’t be bullies in the first place. Not every kid is capable of standing up to bullies, for many reasons. They shouldn’t have to.

          Just as a child has a RIGHT not to be a victim of violence or any other crime, and a RIGHT to help from teachers or police or whoever to stop it, they have a right not to be bullied if they can’t deal with it themselves. Not every kid is equipped to defend herself. What’s next, telling rape victims they should just stand up to rapists?

          • SoArl

            We apparently have very different children, and different parenting experiences, but: Telling my kid to try dealing with the teasing herself first = telling rape victims to stand up to rapists?

          • APS parent

            Like I said, it goes without saying that you teach a child to stand up for herself.

            But sometimes that’s not enough.

          • KalashniKEV

            I think the line gets crossed when things escalate to the Physical realm of things. Calling an overweight kid, “Fat Kid” is not just an insult, but an observation. It’s not possible for a random authority figure to insert themselves in the equation and adjudicate what’s fair game and what’s “bullying.”

            “Bullying” is how we impart our social norms/ mores/ folkways and how we preserve our values and culture.

            (Now excuse me while I go “Bully” some people into not pushing the line on this whole “Dress Down Friday” thing…) ;)

          • SoArl

            Are you calling my kid fat, Kev? :-)

      • KalashniKEV

        Two questions:

        1) You say you have a “vulnerable child.” Not sure what that means, but what are you doing to address her vulnerabilities?

        2) What do *you* tell “old ladies who encounter a 200-pound linebacker with a knife in an alley?”

        • APS parent

          @KalashniKEV

          1) Doing what I can given her capabilities.

          2) To do what she needs to do to defend herself or get away – until the police arrive. I certainly don’t tell her she should just stand up to the bully and everything will work out.

    • CW

      I partially agree with your post, but the problem is that our system has made it to where standing up to a bully has worse consequences than bullying. The practices that worked for your parents and the generations before would likely land a kid in juvenile these days. I’m not saying it’s right.

      • SteamboatWillie

        “our system has made it to where standing up to a bully has worse consequences than bullying”

        Can you explain?

        • novasteve

          If you punch your bully in the face, the bully will stop bullying you. But you can’t do that anymore because you’ll get suspended or expelled and get a criminal record. so the kid just has to tolerate being bullied.

        • CW

          I thought I did. A kid can be verbally and emotionally assaulted for a very long period of time by a bully. That bully, right now, is not guilty of anything (that’s the point of this law). But if the victim says he’s had enough, and takes it into his own hands as “grow a set” alludes to previous generations doing, if he lays hands on the bully, then he can be detained, arrested, expelled etc because he was the first to perpetrate a violent act.

          • KalashniKEV

            That’s a life lesson too. When you escalate a situation, you need to be aware of the consequences.

            …and aren’t those, “punched my bully” stories usually against physical bullying- i.e. wedgies, swirlies, nuggies, lunch $ robbery?

          • saddad

            and the bullies know that, and take advantage of it. Getting odd sally to lash out and hit, and then seeing odd Sally get disciplined, is a great victory for the bully.

          • CW

            I think we’re all in agreement here. This law would be cool if it took the next step – defining physically standing up to a bully to be self-defense.

          • Venn Diagram

            Sounds eerily like a “stand your ground” defense. Is that legal?

          • drax

            “wedgies, swirlies, nuggies, lunch $ robbery?”‘

            It’s not surprising that Kev is belittling bullying, because he’s a classic bully himself.

            No, it’s more like this, Kev:

            http://www.nbc12.com/story/20110744/family-says-bullying-a-factor-in-girls-suicide

            But you’ll find a way to blame her and make fun of it all too, I’m sure.

          • KalashniKEV

            OMG Drax… that’s the second time you posted an article that disproved the argument you were trying to support:

            “Chesterfield Police say they are investigating the young girl’s death. So far, they have not found any indication of bullying.”

          • KalashniKEV

            Getting “Odd Sally” to cross the line and incur punishment is a lesson in self control for “Odd Sally”- and one she should learn at a young age.

          • drax

            No, Kev, it doesn’t disprove it. It simply says the police haven’t confirmed it yet. Logic fail.

            But hey, if you aren’t aware of the hundreds of other (confirmed by police) bullying suicides out there that I could also go look up, that doesn’t surprise me. But they are out there. You should read more.

          • KalashniKEV

            OK, so maybe if there is evidence of bullying found at all, it *might* have been a contributing factor in her suicide.

            From reading through the article though, I would have to wonder if her parents didn’t have her doped up on psychotropics and are looking to shift blame. That’s something you could look up…

          • drax

            Sure, she could also be an alien too, Kev.

        • http://bobsvercl.com bobco85

          Take this for example: a student who deals daily with 2-3 bullies who harass him throughout the day, everyday, between classes at his locker, pushing him around and messing up his books and such. After complaining to the teachers, who did not witness such incidents (and thus it is only hearsay), do not punish the bullies. At some point, the student stands up for himself and lands a punch to the lower jaw of one of the bullies. End result? The bullied kid gets suspended and/or expelled for his actions.

          • Hee-Haw

            Expelled ? unlikely. But another result would be that bully not messing with that kid anymore.

          • novasteve

            Hee haw, kids get expelled for bringing aspirin to school, you don’t think they’d get expelled for throwing a punch?

          • Hee-Haw

            No, suspended is more likely.

          • drax

            Or the bully will just bring a few friends, or sneak up on him, or bring a weapon to school.

    • SteamboatWillie

      Who says “we” can’t do both?

    • WeiQiang

      first, you’re dealing with the bullying that you experinced as a kid. your kid and others have a completely different challenge, which parents aren’t addressing … as evidenced by your post. whereas, you may have bullied or been bullied in a limited number of ways during a limited number of opportunities. today, kids have MUCH more sophisticated and inescapable tools … provided by and not overseen by their parents.

      FrontLine did a great report: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/digitalnation/relationships/predators-bullies/cyberbullying.html

      today’s bullies are better bullies with better weapons and victims have less help and more exposure. i’d suggest that parents who think they’ve ‘got this’ may be optimistic.

      • xarl

        all the more reason we need to raise awareness of the harm caused by bullying…

  • old school

    I remember when I was a kid (and Im only 34) that things like occasional bullying, riding a bike without a helmet, playing outside on your own after school, and getting spanked were all pretty normal. Good thing we now have obsessive parents with lawyers to solve all of our kids problems for them.

    • novasteve

      Kids will not be able to support themselves let alone others when they grow up. The tax base is going to shrink incredibly, with a lot more people reliant on the government in the future.

      • Hee-Haw

        what does this have to do with the topic of bullying ?

        • SteamboatWillie

          You must be new here. Reliance on government has to do with EVERYTHING.

      • dezlboy

        @novasteve, so why do you care? You already stated earlier this week that you weren’t going to pay ArCo taxes or follow their laws.

        Do you have a book of 1000 Responses to Any On-Line Comment?

    • drax

      Today we have kids who can attend school without fear of being constantly victimized and feeling totally helpless, suffer from head injuries and permanent disability and death less often, and aren’t hit by their own parents.

      There’s a reason your school is old. It sucked.

      • novasteve

        Drax: Why was it that the old school kids never went on shooting sprees despite the availability of guns? If you think everything is improved today, you’d be completely wrong.

        • drax

          Old school kids did go on shooting sprees, steve. Not that it’s the least bit relevant. I never said everything was improved today.

        • SteamboatWillie

          I saw a pro-gun guy talking about shooting sprees dating back to the 1920′s. Now you suggest that it’s a recent phenomenon. Keeping up with the spin can be tough.

          • novasteve

            School shootings are a recent phenomenon, steamboat. I’m not talking about all shooting sprees, I’m talking about school shooting sprees. Funny how they didn’t have school shootings back when they had shooting clubs in schools. Why is that?

          • drax

            The Christian Science Monitor just did a good opinion piece on this:

            “On Jan. 11 in Columbia, S.C., a boy armed with a gun killed one of his schoolmates and severely wounded several others. Presumably firing upon them in retaliation for bullying, he expressed no regret for his deed.

            It’s a disturbing story of the sort that raises questions about the direction the world is heading in – the kind of story that makes us long for simpler times.

            The year, however, was 1890.”

            http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2013/0116/Long-history-of-US-school-shootings-means-Obama-is-right-NRA-is-wrong

          • jackson

            I’m sure steve meant back when there were shooting clubs in school in the 1700s.

          • novasteve

            Don’t think my dad was alive in the 1700s, but his high school in the conservative hotbed of Boston, had a shooting club, Jackson.

          • jackson

            Well, if your father wasn’t involved in a shooting incident at his school as a child, that’s all the evidence I need. We need shooting clubs in schools again!

          • drax

            No, steve, they are not a recent phenomenon. That’s a complete falsehood. Read the link I posted for more about why you’re wrong.

        • saddad

          old school kids werent coddled with therapy and antidepressants. They just self medicated with booze, become town drunks, failures, and often suicides.

      • old school

        last week I was surprised to see that I actually agreed with 2 or 3 of Drax’s posts. glad to see things are back to normal.

        separately, I forgot to add football. Football was a normal part of high school not that long ago, but now it is a dangerous activity that could injure our kids, and should be banned. However, if it isnt banned, then we should encourage girls to play it as well, because we are all equal.

        • drax

          When they actually ban football, OS, you’ll have a point instead of a goofy rant.

          As for girls sports, you probably think the good old days when they weren’t allowed to play anything to be cool too.

          Go get a rocking chair and rant on your porch.

        • KalashniKEV

          I know!

          We want Drax 2.0 back! He made so much sense!

          (It almost threw me off my game…)

        • The Wolfe

          Plus they are much more fun to tackle…

          • The Wolfe

            Doh. That last remark was about letting girls play high school football.

            @novasteve: Yorktown has a rifle team. Not sure about W&L or Wakefield.

    • SteamboatWillie

      I remember when I was a kid that recognizing when people who made sweeping generalizations without much basis didn’t know what they were talking about was pretty normal.

  • Rory

    This will solve all bullying, why wasn’t this done earlier.

  • Lance A

    I’m a bully. So sue me. Oh wait, people have.

  • The Riddler

    Riddle me this. HOW does adding this language into the student code of conduct PREVENT bullying? We currently have laws that stay that all moving vehicles, and cyclists, must come to a complete stop at at stop sign. Yet cyclists always blow thru stop signs. So how is a bunch of words, to a kid mind you, gonna stop him or her from bullying?

    • saddad

      it gives teachers and school officials a tool.

      Police dont ticket people doing Idaho stops, perhaps because they realize theres no danger from Idaho stops

      • The Riddler

        Got it. Thanks.

    • xarl

      it will not produce instant results. the idea is to raise awareness about bullying and put teachers, parents, and students on notice that such behavior won’t be tolerated.

  • MaryTravers

    Did Peter Yarrow walk into her house and make her listen to “Don’t Laugh at Me” for more than 15 minutes?

  • xarl

    bullies tend to be children (or adults) with low self-esteem. therefore building self-esteem should be a positive goal for all

    • novasteve

      don’t they already try that to the point of all the students now being special snowflakes that get trophies for showing up?

    • dk (not DK)

      that’s a common belief, but research does not back this up. In fact, often the contrary is true: Some bullies have very high self-esteem and are popular with their peers as well.

      • xarl

        So, do bullies have high or low self-esteem?
        That’s the million dollar question, or at least the one that social scientists politely, but vehemently argue over. One researcher sought to answer the question and put the issue to rest. She did this by giving a large number of children two surveys. One survey attempted to determine where the students fell on the continuum of roles that students play in the bullying drama, and the other survey was to measure their self-esteem. She defined the roles as pure bully, pure victim, bully-victim and bystander. A pure bullywas a person who bullied others, but had never been victimized. The pure victim was a person who been bullied, but had never bullied anyone. A bully-victim was a person who had bullied and been a bully. A bystander was a person who had not been involved in bullying as a perpetrator or as a target.
        Mona O’Moore found that bystanders generally had high self-esteem. Pure bullies had average amounts of self-esteem, pure victims had slightly less self-esteem, and bully-victims had low self-esteem.
        So if you see the glass as half full, then pure bullies have sort of high self-esteem, and if you see the glass as half empty, then pure bullies have sort of low self-esteem. At this point, it’s a matter of interpretation, and there are researchers who see it both ways.

        point taken: gotta love those social scientists

  • The Wolfe

    So then I guess we can all agree it’s impossible to legislate toothpaste back into the tube?

    And that pretty much any legislature is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing?

    I say bring back the Christians vs. the lions. Or Muslims vs. rocs. Or Saracens vs. Crusaders.

    Heck, I’d pay $5 to watch a Quaker and a Mennonite play pinochle for hats.

    This whole shtick is nothing but grand-standing. Gun control, abortion, same-sex marriage, repeal of the car tax . . . faugh.

    • xarl

      lol’d–(the card playing part)

  • KalashniKEV

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too:
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

  • TJLinBallston

    “Bullying” does not include ordinary teasing, horseplay, argument, or peer conflict.” That’s an exception big enough to drive a yellow school bus through. This is meaningless, feel-good legislation that clutters-up the courts and morphs into useless “blue laws” that no one even tries to enforce.

    • novasteve

      It means it will be subjective, and probably political in nature. Teasing someone because they are a dork is okay, but teasing them if they are gay constitutes bullying. This is way to subjective and will result in unfair application. And yes, of course, it’s feel good legislation. In addition to feel good legislation, it’s also likely very unconstitutional, especially the cyberbullying part. Another instance of taking away constitutional rights to have a feel good moment.

  • R0bespierre

    Changes to administrative protocols are nice, but if you are the sort of person/parent who favors individual accountability, and you’re willing to get over the misconception that your smaller child cannot be extremely effective at self-defense, then you should look into something like this:

    http://www.gracieacademy.com/bully_proof.asp
    http://www.pedrosauer.com/pedrosauer/classes/classes.html

    Take your child to a demo class, or sign them up for a free week of jiu-jitsu training to see if they like it. It’s designed to be safer than boxing or MMA, it’s social, and it’s very effective in the sorts of situations in which most smaller children find themselves–getting pushed around by a larger boy with mental issues (who does not understand that leverage will be his undoing.)

    Or, you know, you can sit around waiting for your school to ban something that is natural.

    • denali

      These are interesting links. Personally I have a 4 day old boy and as soon as feasible he will be doing enough push-ups and sit-ups every day until he’s big enough where the other kids will have a subconscious primal respect for him that will keep away bullies. (opposite of my weak skinny self as a kid)

      • drax

        What if 3 or 4 kids bully him? Or the bully is much older? Or uses a weapon of some kind? Or dozens of people verbally abuse him, in person or on the Internet – will he beat them all up?

  • Mike

    The article notes this is already a priority of the Virginia Education Association. Great! Why doesn’t the Virginia Education Association get together with the Virginia School Boards Association, the Virginia Association of School Superintendants and any other relavant groups, and come up with a model anti-bullying framework they can recommend to each local school board to adopt. Do we really need a vague yet inflexible statewide law to mandate common sense for things that are the responsibility of local education authorities?

  • GodFila

    The best way to help kids from being bullied is to teach them to use the technology that will allow them to protect each other by passively collecting audio/video and turning that
    into the the school authorities.
    I am not certain what APS policies regarding use of cellphones, but with the pervasiveness of cellphones with recording capabilities and software like Dropbox,
    even if the bully smashes your phone it’s too late….

    • drax

      Good point.

      Although sometimes it’s hard to film when you’re the victim, let alone show what’s happening. You also risk your phone being stolen or smashed, even if you’re not the one being attacked (yet). And then you face the risk of a humiliating video being made public. And if you don’t know that the authorities will actually do something in response to the video – which is the point of having this law – it doesn’t help much anyway.

    • novasteve

      In certain places it’s illegal to record people without their consent. These kids would face serious criminal penalties.

×

Subscribe to our mailing list