Anti Bullying Legislation – Guilty Or Not Will Children Suffer Severe Penalties?

FamilyKids & Teens

  • Author Mandy Jane Clarke
  • Published May 26, 2011
  • Word count 551

A law called the Safe Schools against Violence in Education Act was passed a few years ago by the New York State Legislature. This insists that all school districts initiate with teachers, administrators, and parents associations a code of conduct applied to the school which allows teachers the opportunity to take disruptive students out of the class, and gives principals the right to suspend or even expel the student from school.

The one thing missing from the clauses of this Act is the anti bullying issue. The main reason for this is that educators felt the Act involved every kind of improper behavior including violence, and others throw out the notion by insisting there is no proof that bullying can be controlled under this kind of legislation.

However, in other areas, deliberations are ongoing in coming to a decision whether to have an anti-bullying program paid for by the government, or to put into effect a firm zero tolerance policy within the schools. Some states have approved anti bullying laws, for example, one state calls for each of its districts to adopt policies against pestering, threats, and bullying. Another state has adopted a zero tolerance policy which suggests suspension, removal, or in the case of two-time wrongdoers, placing them in alternative schools.

This is certainly viewed as a step forward, but the educational system is not geared to deal with trouble makers or those who perform bullying tactics on a day to day basis. In New York, for example, students who are taken from one school are sent off to another school in an "in house" confinement setting. We then have the problem that if School A remands a student to School B; School B remands a student to School A. As these schools are in the same district, this only creates a vicious circle. Another set back is that these kinds of detention centers do not always have staff who can deal with some of the more difficult students on a physical level. With a maximum of two security guards in middle schools and possibly six in high schools (determined by the number of students within the school) it is apparent that an alternative should be included as part of the School Safety Program.

Although each school may try to manage bullying in a different way, there is no clear set standard measure being used against bullying. Furthermore, anti bullying legislation needs to be endorsed throughout the US and internationally so that every school knows what needs to be done and strictly follows the anti bullying laws whatever the district of location.

This raises yet another issue. Those against anti bullying legislation feel that every incident will be dealt with in the same way, resulting in the children suffering severe penalties whether or not they are guilty. What is more, school districts feel they should be able to lay down the rules and regulations concerning anti bullying measures and that authorized legislation is likely to replace administrative rules, which will only hinder teachers and principals.

Maybe those opposed to anti bullying legislation should be told again and again that bullying progresses to violent behavior, and it is the kids who cannot protect themselves against brutal attacks who so desperately need the security which can only be mandated by the state.

By Mandy-Jane Clarke

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