Mte/501 Legal Issue-Bullying Newsletter

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Stop the Bullying
People United for Better Schools

VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1

12, NOVEMBER 2012

Over the past decade there has been a drastic change in the public perception of bullying. In the past bullying was just a regular part of growing up. Because of how extreme, highly harmful, and the unbelievable behavior of the people who are doing the bullying, it has to be brought to an end. Bullying is defined as unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involve a real or perceived power imbalance. These behaviors if continuous can lead to long-lasting negative problems for both the child who is bullied as well as the one who is doing the bullying.

Mississippi law states that staff “shall” report bullying, while adult volunteers “should” report these incidents. Due to the possibility positive student and adult bystanders can have in helping with prevention it is important to encourage participation. High importance has been placed on the schools ability to create an atmosphere that encourages and supports the reporting and prevention of bullying. This allows students to feel comfortable in the school setting and ask for help when needed.

Laws and Regulations on Bullying

Many school districts now have to take responsibility for responding to and preventing bullying among students. There has been a rise in lawsuits for bullying related incidents due to the alleged lack of or inappropriate response and failure to report the problem. Some state legislation is requiring school districts to have a bullying prevention program in place. State laws are also increasing its reporting standards for bullying incidents. In some states the law requires that the school provide ways that will allow students to make anonymous reports. Teachers and other adults are told that they are mandatory reporters of bullying incidents.

“Bullying is killing our kids. Being different is killing our kids and the kids who are bullying are dying inside. We have to save our kids whether they are bullied or they are bullying. They are all in pain.”

- Cat Cora

“You have to believe in yourself” – Sun Tzu

Effects of Bullying

o Lowered academic achievement and aspirations
o Increased anxiety
o Loss of self-esteem and confidence
o Depression and post-traumatic stress
o General deterioration in physical health
o Self-harm and suicidal thinking
o Feelings of alienation in the school environment, such as fear of other children o Loss of interest in activities he or she once enjoyed. o Expression of anger or sadness after being on the computer or mobile phone. o Absenteeism from school

As reported by the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights.

Schools’ Legal Responsibilities

There are three main elements that would constitute negligence by a school district in pertaining to a state school bullying prevention law. o A standard of care set for protecting and responding to instances of bullying set by school district policies and based on state laws. Schools are responsible for meeting these standards and in cases which this legislature does not exist; the schools are still under requirement to address the issue of bullying. o

o If standard of care exists, and the school fails to meet the standard is cause for liability. o “Reasonable person” would consider that harm has resulted from a district failing to meet a standard of care can also cause the school to be liable.

Bullying has a large effect on students mentally, emotionally, and physically.

We must do what we can to stop bullying!

Resources to Help Prevent Bullying

Stop Bullying
Stopbullying.gov

National Bullying Prevention Center
http://www.pacer.org/bullying/

STOP Cyberbullying
stopcyberbullying.com

National Crime Prevention Council
ncpc.org

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