Remember when everyone knew who the bully was in school, and everyone tried to stay out of his/her way. If that didn’t work they would try to do whatever the bully wanted-give them their lunch money, sweater or homework. The bully rarely if ever hurt any one physically, but they did hurt them mentally, but even this abuse is nothing as compared to the bullying that is going on in our schools today. Bullying has become so cruel and abusive that some students are beginning to take desperate action against the bully or themselves. These students are bringing weapons to school to defend themselves, contemplating suicide or both.
In order to protect its students, the Dallas Independent School District Board of Education has taken on the subject of bullying, and is trying to take it to the next level. They have proposed and adopted an anti-bullying policy that they hope will protect all of their students who are attending all of their schools. The district has a one-of-a kind policy.
This policy is very detailed and takes effect immediately. According to the policy each year the teachers and all employees of the district will take classes on how to notice, report and investigate what they perceive as bullying.
The definition of bullying as stated by the Dallas Independent School District ranges from the hitting of students to intimidation and the flashing of gang signs to making fun of students because of their family background, political beliefs, national origin and other reasons. It also includes provisions about cyber bullying and cyber stalking which in itself can be very tricky.
What makes this policy different from some is that it not only seeks to protect its students while at school, but at any school related functions and also on school transportation. It also seeks to punish not only the bully, but those that indirectly condone or support another students bullying.
The inclusion of gay and lesbian students takes this policy to an even higher level. It states that students can not be bullied because of their sexual orientation. By including this in the policy along with other groups, the district is trying to insure that all of its students will be able to learn in a safe environment. Each case of bullying will be evaluated on a case-to-case basis with varying punishment that may lead to expulsion from the school. Parts of the policy will be included in the student code of conduct and distributed to the students each year. Parents will be able to find the policy or a link to the policy on the district website.
Will this stop bullying? No, it will not. It will however, allow students to have at least 8 hours a day where they are free to be themselves. It will begin to teach students the true meaning of tolerance.