Advocate Editorial Board opinion: First step to stop bully is taking a stand
The word bully often brings to mind a certain image in many people's minds. There's the stereotypical big kid who pushes you down and demands lunch money or the group of girls who whisper behind your back and spread rumors about others.
Then there are today's bullies. Prolific use of the Internet and personal cellphones have created an opening for a whole new level of intrusion. Bullies are now able to attack people on social media sites or by calling and texting the victim's cellphone and leaving messages.
What can parents and schools do to protect children? On Oct. 18, Victoria parents met for a bullying awareness event in the Victoria Mall Community Room to talk about options parents and students have.
We are glad to see parents taking a stand and looking for ways to respond appropriately to bullies. In the past, parents would encourage their kids to take a stand and punch the bully in the nose. But in today's world, confronting aggression with more aggression is generally frowned upon, and in the case of cyberbullies, it is completely ineffective. But all the same, we do agree that taking a stand is the first step toward resolving the issue.
Randy Duke, a Victoria father who picketed a school after his son was sent to the Mitchell Guidance Center after reportedly defending himself against bullying, said at the meeting parents have to find someone inside the school administration to communicate and work with. The Victoria Independent School District has a policy against bullying, but the district can't do anything if those being bullied don't stand up and let administrators know something is wrong. But once that step is taken, parents need to stay in communication with the administrators as a solution is found.
Bullying is a nasty problem that is often difficult to resolve. We are glad to see parents coming together to find ways to confront this problem. We encourage parents to use the resources available on the VISD website for reporting bullying or to have students report the incidents to school administrators. Then keep checking back to make sure the situation is being dealt with.
It's unfortunate that these situations aren't like an episode of Andy Griffith, where Opie can confront a bully and then everyone, including the bully, goes out for ice cream. But bullying victims aren't powerless, and we're glad to see parents coming together to find a solution to the problems their kids are facing.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.