Taking it personal, the answer is “Yes!” emphatically “Yes, it is the school’s responsibility to help keep a child safe from bullying while in school.” If anyone says “No,” maybe it is because they do not have a child or grandchild in school. Parents and grandparents expect to keep their children as safe as possible at school. They entrust their precious children and grandchildren to whom they hope are responsible people who will love and care for their children in the same manner as they do. Helping to protect a child from a bully is an official part of the school’s job. There are Federal mandates that reach down to schools as well as state mandates that put the school in the position of “en locus parentus” (in the place of the parent). This being the reality, the school cannot be place in any other position.
Parents look for good schools for their children. A good school is one that does not support bullying of any kind. A good school teaches children to report bullying on any level to the teacher or an adult who works in the school. A good school acts immediately to identify bullies and prevent them from threatening or doing harm to others in the school environment. Such schools can then provide the type of education needed unihibited by bullies. All school systems have a Uniform Code of Discipline which parents and students must read and sign. This booklet identifies the action and the penalty for violation of the school’s rules. Bullying is always dealt with through a series of steps, but ultimately ending in strict discipline in the form of conferences, counseling, suspension, and sometimes expulsion.
Because the schools have discovered that timid children refuse to come to school, or stay consistently “sick” so they will not have to come to school when they are being bullied, all schools have stepped up how they deal with bullying episodes. Yes, this issue is a main part of their job, and I feel that the majority of schools take it seriously. If a school obtains a reputation for not dealing with bullies, that school will soon lose students, and therefore funding which is based upon student enrollment. No school wants to lose funding and this is another reason they want their school to be held in high esteem in their community. Many schools also have a “Zero Tolerance Policy” which helps parents and students know that something will be done if there is a bullying issue.
Protecting childrena against bullying is actually everyone’s job in the school and neighborhood. At school, however, it is the students’ job to tell. It is the teachers, and adults who work in the school’s job to listen and verify bullying episodes. It is the principals’ job to resolve and provide discipline so that future incidents will not occur in his/her school. No one is excluded in the school environment. And “Yes”, the battle against bullying goes one each and every school year as school officials work to provide for their students the safetest educational environment possible.