Editor's Note: As more parents and students spoke openly about bullying and its negative effects, Thursday’s American Morning audience shared potential solutions to the problem. One former teacher suggested that other states emulate Vermont, making schools legally requited to “deal with the problem.”
- Mary: If Massachusetts wants to get serious about bullying in schools, I suggest it look to its neighbor–Vermont. A Vermont bullying law was put into law after the suicide of 13-year old Ryan Patrick Halligan. If Massachusetts had such a law, prosecution might be much easier. But, most importantly, the level of awareness amongst students and teachers escalates. The Vermont law requires schools to deal with the problem. I recently retired from teaching and during my last ten years, I was part of a concentrated staff development effort & participated in developing bullying policies as both a teacher and a school board member. Not one school...not one principal...not one teacher in Vermont can stand by and allow bullying. All know that there is a legal price to pay. When the level of awareness increases, the amount of bullying decreases. Ryan's dad was the driving force for the law. Google Ryan's name and you can read his tragic story on-line. His dad travels to schools talking to students and teachers about the events that led to his son's suicide. I know for a fact, that he has been in schools in Massachusetts. It would behoove you to refer to Vermont's law in your reports.
- Tameka: bullies are a group of cowards .like a scary dog that barks real loud, but when u stomp at them they run behind master. i suggest standing up to them. best to catch that person alone, and talk to them. if anyone noticed that a bully mostly run in a pack, not alone.
- Joe: In your coverage of the teen who [hanged] herself over bullying, you hold the school administration responsible for what a group of teenagers did. Where and when do you hold the parents of these teens responsible? If a parent, who has only 2 or 3 children in their home, cannot prevent their child from bullying, how is a school teacher, with up to 100 students, or a principal, with up to 2000, supposed to keep track of what is going on? No wonder our students are not achieving well on tests if we expect schools to do it all. Parents should parent, schools should teach.
Who should be held accountable in bullying cases? What suggestions would you have to address this issue?