Bullying & Children

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January 26, 2003 FOR GENERAL RELEASE

For further information contact:Kevin A. CraneCell: (610) 517-4007

The Bully And Your Child

A bully in school may be harassing your child or grandchild and you might not even be aware of it. Even if you do know, what are you doing about it? According to estimates of the National Education Association, 160,000 children skip school every day because they fear being attacked or intimidated by other students. Add to that the number of children that actually go to school and face a bully and you have a large segment of student victims that are tormented everyday! This torment ranges from minor teasing to physical assaults, and your child is still expected to go to school and get a good education to prepare them for life. Parents and educators, the time has come to take proactive steps to eradicate this destructive behavior and make our schools safe havens conducive to learning and personal growth. Not only should we expect it, we should “demand” it!

Children experiencing negative actions such as bullying can carry emotional and/or psychological damage over into their adult lives. A child who is being bullied and is not helped will often times experience a great loss of self-esteem, depression, poor grades, and a multitude of other unhealthy symptoms. Left unresolved, the bullied child may never achieve their goals, reach their full potential academically or personally and, quite possibly, make bad decisions or poor choices affecting their lives. All parents want the best for their children and education is the key to life long success, as any teacher will tell you. It is imperative that our school districts, with teachers, administrators, and parents working together as a team, put a plan into action to provide anti-bullying messages to all school children, and take decisive measures in dealing with bullies. Students who bully must know that their actions are not acceptable and will not be tolerated.

From the first day of school, both parents and school districts can take several actions. Parents need to have frank discussions with their children about dealing with bullies and having their children tell them if they are ever being bullied. Children need to feel safe in speaking with their parents about this issue and not embarrassed. School districts should mandate that teachers discuss with their students what bullies are, why they act that way, and that a child being bullied can speak with the teacher. When approached, the teacher must then discuss this problem immediately with the principal and a meeting should be set with both sets of parents of the children involved. Too many times this issue is brushed aside and not snipped in the bud. Assemblies should be held yearly with speakers who can cover this topic and encourage anti-bullying behavior. In fact, there are a myriad of measures that can be taken to stop bullying and aggressive, physical, and sometimes dangerous behavior.

During my 18 years as a federal agent conducting investigations in support of national security, I have dealt with murderers, rapists, drug addicts, child abusers, etc. I wonder how many of these citizens were bullied and may have turned out better had they been helped? I have also been involved with the martial arts for 26 years and own a Taekwondo School. My partners include three police officers, an educator, and a former U.S. national team member. They, too, experienced the torment of dealing with bullies growing up, and now strive to help our Taekwondo students better deal with bullies to avoid becoming victims of relentless harassment.

Bullies have been around since children have gone to school. You may ask yourself when it will end? In short, it won’t until all of us take vigorous steps at home and school to make it end. If you as a parent don’t make the effort, perhaps some of my partners and I will have to deal with your children in our professional lives when they become adults. You must take that first step towards positive change, call your schools, and get involved now. You’ll thank yourself later, but more importantly, your child will, too!

For additional information on anti-bullying techniques, email the writer at [email protected].