Bullying is a big topic in the USA again

Quotes from a CNN story found here:

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/04/01/massachusetts.bullying.suicide

“They really don’t know what’s going on in the schools, but they feel that this shouldn’t have happened and that, somehow, it has to be the fault of the schools themselves,” Sayer said. “Frankly, I think that grossly oversimplifies the situation.”

Isn’t this always the case?  We’ve heard the questions at our own council – “How serious a problem is it?” – and from last year, “How do we even know  that it *is* a problem?”

It’s not a lack of caring or anything else – often times, people just don’t have any real understanding of what is really going on in schools.

And then, from the same article:

But, he added, expulsion is something educators are reluctant to countenance.

“It’s a terrible punishment because that changes their whole lives and what they are capable of doing, and they have to figure out a way to renew and complete their education.”

This one is said a lot.  But hold on a second – what of the victims?  What of their education?

And is it not a simple question of actions beget consequences?  At what point is the bully taught this invaluable life lesson – once it is too late and they land in a jail cell?

The question invariably comes back to the student, the bully, having a right to an education.  Yes, he has that right.  But we also have section 242 of the education act which reads:

Expulsion of student.
242. A school board may, at the request of the principal and for just and sufficient cause, and after giving the student and his parents an opportunity to be heard, enrol him in another school or expel him from its schools; in the latter case, it shall inform the director of youth protection.

So – why does the right of a bully supersede the right of the victims to their education, especially when, given just and sufficient cause, a school board does indeed have the right to remove the offenders?

Give them a chance, yes.  Try to educate.  Yes.  Suspend, yes.  And expel, yes – if we have to.  We have nothing to be afraid of, except not taking care to root out the rot of bullying.  At every level.

Truly,

Steve
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