Gov. Matt Bevin signed into law Thursday a bill that clearly defines bullying as it pertains to K-12 education.
This is a great move by our government, as bullying should never be tolerated. Unfortunately, kids don’t have to look any further than this year’s presidential election to see evidence of bullying, as presumptive GOP candidate Donald Trump has risen to the top of the Republican ticket in part by running an intimidating campaign.
But as adults, we can often escape bullies. Children and teenagers don’t always have that luxury.
Last month, a Barren County High School Trojan Academy student was criminally charged after he posted what were deemed as threatening messages on social media. The Glasgow Daily Times obtained a copy of what the student allegedly posted, and without a doubt, his actions were unacceptable even if he didn’t plan on causing any physical harm to his peers.
But what also stood out in his post were his claims that other classmates were picking on him. It appears that this student had been the victim of bullying. Thankfully, administrators and police stepped in before this situation got out of hand, but many times, nothing happens until it’s too late.
There are numerous examples of violent consequences that have stemmed from bullying. Last year, in Bardstown, a 12-year-old girl, Reagan Carter, took her life after being bullied by classmates. A young lady’s life was lost before she was even a teenager because she wanted the pain caused by being bullied to end.
Other victims of bullying have reacted violently toward their classmates. According to the website www.stopbullying.gov, school shooters in 12 of 15 cases in the 1990s had a history of being bullied.
Efforts to curb and punish bullying in schools have certainly improved since the 1990s, but more needs to be done to end the problem. And it can’t just be about school administrators and teachers. Parents need to teach their kids that bullying is cowardly and wrong, and they should punish their children if they take part in such actions.
In terms of school discipline, students who are proven to be guilty of bullying should face stiff consequences. In our country, you are required to attend school or be home schooled. Students should not have to tolerate bullying to simply get an education.
In the case of the BCHS student, if it’s proven that the teenager was the victim of bullying, than those who bullied him should be punished, both at home and at school. In cases of extreme bullying, criminal charges should be brought against the offenders.
Lastly, while we can’t expect juveniles to solve all the world’s problems, they really have the most power when it comes to this topic. Peers must realize the seriousness of their actions, and be leaders and not sheep. Treat people how you would like to be treated, and don’t think for a second that you can’t be the victim of bullying.
The action of our state legislature and Bevin is a stepping stone for Kentucky. Now it’s up to us to end bullying.
The Glasgow Daily Times