The “Three Strikes and You’re Out” policy is an effective strategy for dealing with school bullies. Only those children with serious personality disorders will not be deterred by its application, and even in these cases, the policy aids in the early identification of those students who need special placement for their own welfare as well as for that of the other children.
Before implementing this programme, school board officials must get the consent and support of the majority of parents in each school. This is not usually difficult, because many children have been victimized at one time or another by a bully. Lately, the media have reported several cases in which fine young people were driven to suicide by cruel taunts and threats from school bullies. Most parents realize something drastic must be done.
The “Three Strikes and You’re Out” policy must be publicized at the beginning of the school year. It should be explained in the first newsletter to go home, published in the local newspaper, and discussed on talk radio shows in the area. If there is a local television channel, school board officials, teachers and parents should take part in a panel discussion on the new policy. There should be no parent in the area who can claim ignorance of the consequences should his or her child engage in bullying.
Following are some suggestions as to how the “Three Strikes and You’re Out” policy might be implemented.
A bullying incident is reported by the victim, a witness, a teacher or a parent. All parties concerned are summoned to a meeting in the Principal’s office. If the charge can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, an automatic three-day suspension is imposed on the bully. His parents are notified immediately and reminded of the consequences for strikes two and three, should they occur. During the suspension, the bully must write a sincere letter of apology to the victim and complete all homework assigned by his teachers.
If a second incident occurs and is proven beyond a reasonable doubt, another meeting is called. For this meeting, attendance by both parents of the bully is obligatory. The offender is given a week’s suspension and many assignments to complete during that time. He must sign a pledge that he will not bully the victim or any other child again. Everyone is informed that if he breaks that pledge, he will be removed from the school permanently. If there is some indication that problems at home may be contributing to the bully’s behavior, a representative from the Children’s Aid Society may be invited to attend the meeting and undertake any follow-up investigations and procedures necessary.
If another episode of bullying occurs, the student gathers up his belongings and leaves the school permanently. He will receive tutoring at home while he undergoes a battery of tests which will include psychological testing. According to test results, he may be placed in a special facility where his problems will be properly addressed, or transferred to another public school on the condition that he, (and his parents, if necessary), receive ongoing professional therapy.
School days should be happy, carefree days for children, They should be learning academic subjects and social skills, not cringing in fear and apprehension because of the taunts and threats of a fiendish and cruel tormentor. Whatever needs happen to get rid of these bullies, must be done. The “Three Strikes and You’re Out” policy is an effective method of doing so. Let’s implement it in every school district.