Monday, October 11, 2010

Texas Considers New Anti-Bullying Laws

In the wake of a startling number of suicides that seem to be the direct result of bullying in our schools, many state and local governments are looking at how this sad trend is being addressed in their communities. Unfortunately, Texas is no different than other states in having to face this dangerous situation.

Last month, eighth-grader Asher Brown of Hamilton Middle School in the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District of Houston shot himself in the head following incessant bullying from his classmates. This tragedy has led to several of our state legislators introducing legislation in Austin that has failed to garner enough support in previous years.

Rep. Garnet Coleman of Houston says he plans to introduce a bill that will require training of school employees on preventing and responding to bullying. Rep. Mark Strama of Austin will bring back a bill he first put forth in 2009 that would require schools to report data on all incidents of bullying.

The nonprofit group Bully Police is not too impressed with the current efforts of Texas to end bullying, noting that we have no state law that defines bullying, assigns counselors to victims of bullying, or requires schools to report incidents. Perhaps now is the right time to make the changes that will improve our work in these areas.

We want to hear your opinion on the current state of bullying in our schools. Should the government be responsible for creating laws that hopefully will curb such taunting? Are there other factors in our homes or our culture that are contributing to the heightened problem of bullying that perhaps cannot be improved with such laws? If you are a parent of a school-aged child, how is the problem of bullying being addressed by teachers and administrators?


8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have never thought of bullying as a very serious issue until recently. For the past two years my children have been tormented at school and on the bus by a child in our neighborhood. My kids have come home with bruises. They have begged to not go to school. I have talked to the principal and the school counselor and they state that they have a zero tolerance policy, yet they do nothing. Today I sent a letter to the superintendant of the school. If he doesn't do something I am considering hiring legal counsel. It's crazy that if an adult hits another adult they can be jailed. When a child does it it goes unnoticed. Assault is assault. If the schools would step up and do something about the issue the state wouldn't have to step in. Unfortunately, the schools don't seem to care, so I think it is time for the state to take over on this issue.

Anonymous said...

My child is in fifth grade and is being bullied. At the begining of the school year I asked for my child to be reoved from the class because I knew we had issues with the child before. As I seeked out the principal at back to school night she insured me everything would be ok. I assured her she was not not going to be able to handle it. Four weeks into the schoool year I'm in her office because of bullying issues. The principal somehow tried to say my daughter was at fault. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I once again asked for my child to be removed from the class and the ansewer was let us handle this and we will see. I told them they were not handling it and my child was begging not to go to school. The following weekend at a birthday party the bully was there and hit my daughter in the face. I went to the school on monday the day after and they agreed to take my child out of the class. She is still continuing to be bullied on the playground. She now is in therapy once a week because the school refuses to protect my daughter. The Texas legislature must step in a write a law this session to protect these children. The school refuse to talk to the parents of the bully because those parents are not complaining is what was explained to me. Because of there inaction they have changed the child she was going to be and have made her a child who beleives the school is an unsafe place to be and the aduults are not to be trusted.

Anonymous said...

I'm on the other side of the bullying controversy. My son has had disciplinary action taken against him because his "friends" have repeatedly made bullying claims against him to get him in trouble. The problem is that the school is required to follow up on the claims to protect themselves, but how can I protect my child from the exaggerated claims? Where is the line between horseplay among friends and bullying. They all hang out together. If the acuser was really being bullied, wouldn't he avoid my child? Instead he and his friends (the "witnesses")continually seek out my child. So, by "investigating" the bullying allegations and taking "disciplinary" action against my child, the school staff is also being used as the tools to deliver harrassment against my child.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous

My son has been victim of being bullied by his classmate because he's an Asian. There's an Equal Opportunity Employment Law that had already passed for company's not to discriminate minorities, why not pass a law for school's students not to discriminate minorities too. In God's eyes we're all born equal and should be treated equally.

Anonymous said...

My son is being bullied. He has been for a while now. Well, ever since these new twins moved into the neighborhood. The one twin, taunts him. Calls him names. Has tripped my son in school. Everytime he sees my son, no matter who my son is with, he will approach him, talk negatively towards him and put him down in any way he can, to make my son feel embarrassed. This kid has physically abused my son. I've called the cops twice. On one occasions they told me to watch mg child better, on the other, they were ready to take the kid to jail. His mom showed up and we discussed everything and she swore it wouldn't happen again. Well. It has. It hasn't stopped. To the point to where he keeps telling my son, "what are u gonna do, call the cops," then laugh at my son. My son knows to leave when this kid approaches, but what gets me is, why is it everywhere my son is, this kid shows up. It's like, stalker mode. I do fear for my son. This kid has threatened saying his family would shoot up our house, and he was gonna take my sons insides, rip em out and hang em up. Seriously? It has to stop. I don't know what to do anymore. I don't even want my son going outside. He's 12 by the way. Just, something has to be done.

Unknown said...

My sister has been bullied by the same girls for past 2 years. School says they can not do anything. There is a video on YouTube of the fight. As a protective sister I'm trying my best to handle it the right way. My next step is taking it to the media. The mothers of these girls are just ones who don't care and rather play the role of a friend. What do we have to do for this to stop? My sister shouldn't have to change schools or have her passing periods taken away, she isn't the problem!

cassandra cuellar said...

I believe the parent should be punished as well, the first things you learn come from home, our parents are our first teachers. If you can't teach your kid to be respectful and not pick on others for being different, then yes they deserve the punishment as well. Maybe that way if they are punished also, they will have to start teaching their kids this just isn't right! My sister is mixed but she looks mostly African American and she has been picked on for it since she was little. Ruthless kids coming to ask "why are u dark but your mom is light?" they even would ask my mom smh, I'm bipolar so trying my best to go the right way on this but cops won't do anything and school won't neither...yet when we take it in our own hands we get in trouble...I refuse to let my sister b a victim of bullying and later we find her dead because she took her life..they tell the kid to talk to a adult yet when they do.."oh nothing can be done" I'm sorry but it's bs...I won't let my sister end up like the girl from Delaware

cassandra cuellar said...

I believe the parent should be punished as well, the first things you learn come from home, our parents are our first teachers. If you can't teach your kid to be respectful and not pick on others for being different, then yes they deserve the punishment as well. Maybe that way if they are punished also, they will have to start teaching their kids this just isn't right! My sister is mixed but she looks mostly African American and she has been picked on for it since she was little. Ruthless kids coming to ask "why are u dark but your mom is light?" they even would ask my mom smh, I'm bipolar so trying my best to go the right way on this but cops won't do anything and school won't neither...yet when we take it in our own hands we get in trouble...I refuse to let my sister b a victim of bullying and later we find her dead because she took her life..they tell the kid to talk to a adult yet when they do.."oh nothing can be done" I'm sorry but it's bs...I won't let my sister end up like the girl from Delaware