A new movie coming out this weekend takes on the topic of bullying. The movie is a fictional tale about a 16-year-old girl and the abuse she experiences at the hands of a classmate. Bullying has been a hot topic for some time now. It has received more attention from popular culture, parents, educators and administrators than perhaps ever before.
How you feel about the problem of bullying is likely dependent on a number of factors. Few people consider themselves bullies, even when their conduct appears to fit the description perfectly. Parents are unlikely to consider their children bullies. Like the parents of bullying victims, they might be the last to know about the conduct in question. Parents face a difficult challenge in addressing accusations of bullying by their children.
School boards and educational professionals have a more clear-cut role in addressing bullying. New Jersey law requires them to record harassment, intimidation and bullying events. They are tasked with preventing bullying and harassment. They must develop specialists and teams to address the problem of bullying. The issue of bullying is complex, but that does not give schools the right to throw their hands in the air and leave it to the students to sort out among themselves.
A movie will not solve the problem of bullying. The best it can do is further the conversation in the battle against this behavior. Students have a right to get an education free from bullying and harassing behavior. Schools have certain obligations key to protecting that right. Holding them accountable is a necessary component of addressing bullying in schools.
Source: Huffington Post, “An Unprecedented Look at Bullying,” by Shefali Tsabary, 25 March 2015