Archive for Wednesday, November 5, 2003

Our view: Are our schools safe for our children?

November 5, 2003

Everyone knows one. Or perhaps they were one themselves.

The overweight kid. The kid with red hair. The kid wearing glasses. The kid who's less than athletic.

Regardless of the myriad reasons, bullying in schools can have debilitating results on youngsters. After all, what child would want to subject himself or herself to abuse for seven hours a day, five days a week? What child would want to walk the hallways, sit in classes, with a knot welling in his or her stomach -- just waiting for the next attack?

The answer is painfully clear: No child would.

And while Tonganoxie schools have a zero-tolerance policy for bullying and harassment of students by students, it is not possible for administrators or teachers to be in all places at all times. In recent weeks, the parents of at least two students have talked with Tonganoxie school administrators and school board members about the repeated bullying of their children.

It is important to take each report of bullying or harassment seriously. And it is important to take action.

In Tonganoxie, we cannot afford to allow one student to undermine another student's self-confidence in what are supposed to be safe houses for education -- our schools.

Children are required to attend school.

However, they are not required to be bullied. And it is up to adults -- parents, teachers, administrators and, yes, school board members -- to protect children. It is not an option. It's a social requirement.

And it seems, too, that the word "bullying" is not really a strong enough description of what's happening in some schools. It's abuse. It's vulgar. It's reprehensible.

And it must stop.

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