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NICK ON POLITICS: Bullying
By Nick Garrett
Bullying has been getting a lot of attention across Southern Maryland as well as nationally.Bullying is being called an “epidemic” that is, “causing emotional problems in many of our nations pre-teens and teens in this country”. To that end, a movie called “Bully”, which was slated to receive an “R” rating due to foul language, was recently re-graded to “PG 13” so that a wider audience could see the movie and gain a stronger insight into what a huge problem bullying has become.Back in March a Federal Ant-Bullying initiative was brought to the forefront and around the same time school systems across our region gave their bullying procedures a facelift.This is not to suggest our county school systems were not already aware of and dealing with this issue.However, there is a noteworthy amount of attention being given to the matter that
The Saint Mary’s County Public Schools website even references the alarming national trend of increased bullying as a motivation for their progressive and proactive anti-bullying initiatives.Charles and Calvert Counties have also taken new steps to combat the growing problem.These adaptations come too late for some, who have committed suicide or transferred schools, leaving friends behind to try and move forward without the daily pain this cruelty causes.
Cyber-bullying is just as poignant.During the pre teen and teen years, social norms and daily pressures are changing at break neck speed to begin with and can leave individuals feeling alienated and scared.While 15 to 30% of school age students are either bullies or victims of bullying, the number increases online, where over 32% have experienced bullying.
In order to protect students the St. Mary’s County Public Schools has a confidential reporting hotline, as well as a form that can be filled out at anytime to launch an official investigation.Calvert County Public Schools take the additional step of educating the public, especially parents, on what bullying is and what signs they should look for to identify it in their household whether victim or aggressor.One can even download the bullying form right from the website.
Charles County Public Schools website seems to emphasize the psychological reasons why bullying may occur.Between all three school systems and the information they provide online, parents and administrators are more empowered then ever to take a stand and change a climate that for so long, somehow overlooked bullying as “kids being kids”.
One has to wonder if the lack of civility in interaction between adults in public has in part fed this bullying epidemic.From our politics to our desire to be served with great customer service at the grocery store the general publics’ behavior may be indirectly contributing to the problems.Whatever the causes it is clear that from each facet of society and at all levels of government, bullying is being attacked with vigor.
One can’t help but notice that in the last several months especially, signs, posters, ads, and programs have burgeoned with designs on eradicating forever the often cruel effects of bullies.As has been the track record with so many.
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