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Wisconsin may be the birthplace of the idea.

In Battle Against Bullies, Some Schools Target Parents

The town of Monona, Wis. In New Jersey, a proposed Senate bill referred to as "Mallory's Law"—named after year-old Mallory Grossman, a victim of school and cyberbullying who committed suicide—would impose civil liability and require parents to take a training class with their child for bullying. Last October, parents in Wisconsin Rapids aired several problems they had with how schools had handled reports of bullying. One mother told the school board she reviewed nine school handbooks after her son continued to be bullied, despite reporting it a year prior.

She noted that two of the handbooks had no reference to bullying at all, while the others included copied excerpts from the district's policy. Another mother reported that her daughter had been handcuffed to a bench during recess and had her glasses broken. Although the principal assured her that the parents of the alleged bully were notified, she said her daughter had to return to school in fear of facing the boy who bullied her. He asked them to continue coming forward and pledged that the district would look at taking more proactive steps and increasing the consequences for repeated bullying behaviors.

Before that meeting, the school district had already begun evaluating its policy and additional measures for intervening when bullying is reported, including consulting with law enforcement, Broeren told Education Week in an interview. Despite the high-profile incident earlier this year that drew attention to the district, Broeren maintains that bullying was not a widespread problem.

According to a recent report from the U. S Department of Education, " Indicators of School Crime and Safety: ," 20 percent of students nationwide between the ages of reported being bullied at school in Meanwhile, 6 percent of students purposefully avoided school activities, classes, or one or more locations at school because they thought someone might physically attack them or harm them.

To Deborah Temkin, an expert on bullying and prevention, the answer is no. Even with good intentions behind them, such policies criminalize behaviors and don't address the root causes of bullying. We know that kids who bully, sometimes they have some underlying trauma, they have some underlying reasons why they're engaging that behavior, and punishment does nothing to actually address that. It's just yet another piece of the puzzle. While students with bullying behaviors come from many different social and class backgrounds, some scholars believe ordinances like the one in Wisconsin Rapids can actually make the situation worse for families who are already struggling.

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For instance, there is some argument that they could disproportionately impact single mothers and minority parents, in particular. And you are effectively taking even more limited resources away from families and parents who have the most limited resources already. But Broeren is skeptical that the ordinance will lead to such negative consequences, especially with other policies in place to address bullying.

Currently, school officials thoroughly investigate reports of bullying, Broeren said.

DON'T JUDGE A BOOK BY IT'S COVER - ANTI BULLYING ACTION FILM

If bullying is occurring, a conversation with parents about stopping the behavior would resolve the issue. Additionally, the district will keep in place its anti-bullying education programs for students who harass others and mental health counseling services for victims. If a student persists in the bullying behavior despite several warnings, school officials contact law enforcement authorities to reach out to the student's family for a more serious conversation.

Parents would receive a citation and be fined as a last resort, according to Broeren. If the behavior changes, conceivably, nothing happens.

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Broeren said in Plover, the first town to adopt the anti-bullying ordinance, the policy is working as a deterrent. There, he said, police have issued no citations in the four years since the ordinance was adopted. The superintendent in Stevens Point Area Public Schools, in Plover, could not be reached to comment on how the ordinance there has impacted students and families in the district. And so this ordinance is about protecting them, and the victim, and the parents and the community.

There's little to no research to determine if fining parents—or the threat of it—can reduce bullying in schools, according to Temkin.

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While it's unclear if the ordinances are making a measurable difference elsewhere around the country, both Broeren and Temkin agree that improving school climate and teacher-student relationships can help prevent bullying. Although the answer might not be to fine parents, family does matter. Students who have a better sense of belonging at home and at school are less likely to bully , according to a recently published study. We've gone through this with schools time and time again, with zero tolerance and things of that nature.

Meanwhile, Ault believes it's worth taking a chance with the ordinances to stop bullying and prevent further tragedy. Back to Top. Email Password.


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Left to their own devices, Duncanrig will continue with their status quo and nothing will change. How do I know this? Well clearly nothing has changed in the 11 years since I last attended, so why should anybody believe them now? I am looking for a strategy to be put in place for all schools that sees bullying being handled with a zero tolerance approach.

Schools must be obligated to have a fully fit for purpose Anti-Bullying Policy which is available to parents of pupils on demand to view, is regularly reviewed and adapted where necessary to ensure it remains fit for purpose, and is adhered to religiously to ensure fairness for all pupils.

To me, an acceptable regular review would be at the very least at the start of every academic year. Schools Anti-Bullying Procedures must be reviewed regularly by our Department for Education to ensure best practice is shared and that we have a fair approach across the board. Any school deemed as failing to adhere to their Anti-Bullying Procedures must be offered support by the government to improve. Schools who repeatedly fail must be held accountable by the government, even if it means withdrawing funding for non-essential programmes within a school ie programmes that are not required for the school to meet basic educational standards or duty of care standards.

Furthermore, schools need to provide more support for victims of bullying to ensure their best interests and welfare are taken into account in order to try and reduce the lasting impact that bullying can have wherever possible. All of this needs to be applied as quickly as is humanly possible. Failing to take bullying seriously is not OK, and it can lead to serious long lasting mental health issues, and even suicide. We need to act, and we need action, not just words.

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