A Ways to Go...

Carrie Schmelkin : Gossip from the Hallways
Carrie Schmelkin
Web Editor, TMC

A Ways to Go...

child at school.jpgTime is quickly running out for Connecticut schools to develop a safe school climate plan, something which Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy sanctioned this past summer.

According to the General Assembly of Connecticut, “An Act Concerning the Strengthening of School Bullying Laws,” was signed into law by Malloy on July 13. The act takes “comprehensive steps to prevent bullying and ensure every child the right to learn in public school without fear of teasing, humiliation or assault.”

Per the statute, each school must: adopt a clear policy against bullying behaviors; train all school staff who interact with students on how to prevent bullying; ensure that all school staff take immediate action whenever they observe bullying or receive a report; and gather data to access the extent of bullying in school.

The law was created in response to the fact that bullying precludes Connecticut students from fully being able to succeed in school, according to government officials. Specifically, 25 percent of Connecticut high school students – and 35 percent of the state’s ninth graders – report having been bullied or harassed on school property in the previous year. Perhaps more alarming is the fact that more than 900,000 U.S. high school students reported being cyberbullied in one year. One can only imagine how big this number is if we account for the unreported instances.  

As part of creating the safe school climate plans, school members are required to amend the definition of bullying to include cyberbullying, clarify what constitutes bullying, and eliminate the "during the school year" phrase in the current definition that reportedly caused some school officials to “wipe the slate clean” and ignore bullying patterns that began before the current school year.

Although administrations all over might want to be gearing up for holiday vacation and the start of 2012, board members all over TMC’s home state of Connecticut are busy holding multiple board of education meetings to determine how to best adopt a safe school climate plan.

Some board of ed members have already expressed skepticism over this new policy, as one New Canaan Public Schools Board of Education member exclaimed, “In many ways, it’s another unfunded mandate from the state that’s going to require attention and resources from the schools in order to comply.”

Others have celebrated the new mandate and have already passed plans that include having a safe school climate specialist in each school and creating a safe school climate committee that will be required to train staff on how to respond to bullying complaints, like what was adopted in Bridgeport.

Earlier this fall, I posted about how states all over are charging forward with anti-bullying laws, particularly adding cyber bullying and electronic harassment clauses. I said at the time that although dozens of states have become more stringent when it comes to bullying, we still have a ways to go. And my sentiment has not changed a few months later.

When it comes to bullying, one should never argue that an attempt to curb bullying could be futile; it could also be life changing.

Bullying is running rampant in this country, just like a dangerous ailment, and like a virus it needs to be quarantined. It is hard to say whether a Connecticut school will be able to create a safe climate plan capable of admonishing kids who use Facebook while in school to poke fun of classmates. It is too difficult to tell whether a more stringent in school policy will stick with kids even as they leave the school hallways. But, it is still an effort worth taking.

It is never a futile attempt when it comes to saving a kid’s life.




Enhanced by Zemanta

Related Articles to 'A Ways to Go... '
bullying logo.jpg
Feedback for A Ways to Go...

Leave a comment