Fight against school bullying

Sep 29, 2011

 

GHHS junior Emma Baty told Moroney: “We know (bullying) is a problem that can’t be solved overnight. But we’re going to try our hardest to make sure every kid comes to school every day and feels safe.”

Grand Haven school officials last spring surveyed students about bullying and results indicated that bullying is a problem.

The district, to its credit, has been addressing the issue. And it is impressive that GHHS students are willing to take a stand against bullying.

“We want to change the culture of our school, and have kids be happy to go to school and not dread it,” GHHS senior Jared Bollaert told Moroney.

While Spring Lake Public Schools hasn’t implemented a program on the scale of Grand Haven’s, Superintendent Dennis Furton said the bullying issue is on the school district’s radar. “We are trying to manage (bullying),” he said.

Furton said he likes what Grand Haven is doing and will be looking at a similar program in Spring Lake down the road.

Yes, bullying in school has been a problem for a long time. As Moroney reported, bullying in schools has evolved from the stereotypical rumbles at the playground to more verbal and written remarks that local school officials say are equally as damaging.

Moroney is right. Back in the day, we had our share of bullying — mostly on the playground. I had some classmates who felt it was their daily obligation to intimidate their fellow students, including me. I weighed 135 pounds in high school, so I was an easy target.

But bullying has taken a dramatic turn in recent years with the advent of Facebook and other social media outlets. It’s easy for someone to sit at a computer and write unflattering and mean-spirited comments about someone. Sometimes kids will say something that they think is funny — but, in reality, it is hurtful.

Sgt. Valerie Weiss, school resource supervisor, also told Moroney that cyberbullying is the biggest reoccurring issue the nine Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department school liaison officers in the county see in schools.

Our kids shouldn’t have to tolerate cyberbullying or any other kind of bullying.

The schools shouldn’t be the only ones dealing with the bullying issue. We parents also have an obligation to talk to our kids about bullying.

Unfortunately, some kids don’t want to talk about being bullied and keep the issue to themselves. Sometimes, it has ended with tragic consequences.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly a third of students ages 12-18 have been bullied; some on a daily basis. That is an alarming number.

The Grand Haven school district deserves credit for putting bullying high on the radar.

Let’s all do our part to wipe out bullying in our schools. Kids are going to school to learn; not to be pushed around physically and verbally.

 

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