Advocate editorial board opionion: Bullying is serious problem that needs addressing

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Aug. 31, 2010 at 3:31 a.m.

We applaud the Cuero School District for recognizing a serious but often ignored problem in schools: bullying. The school district's Bully Buster Week is designed to encourage students who witness bullying to report it.

The weeklong program included an assembly featuring Rosanne Wagner, a case manager for Safe Schools Healthy Students program. Teachers acted out bullying as students watched and learned how to prevent bullying and what to do in such situations. Obviously, students who attended this assembly were able to learn some good measures.

Victims of bullying remain victims because they do not know how to defend themselves. And bullies are no longer kids who have low self-esteem; they are youth who know they can bully and get away with it. The victims turn to deep depression, which can result in long-term psychological harm, thoughts of ending it all and, unfortunately, suicide.

Wagner wants the Cuero students to design the program next year. Who better than students could tailor an effective program on bullying?

We think this is a good way to send a clear message that bullying will not be tolerated in the Cuero school district. And we urge other school districts to engage in like-programs using Cuero ISD as a model.

That noted, we applaud the Bloomington school district for having a "report a bully" on the district's website.

The more school districts make bullying difficult, the better our schools will be in terms of academics and learning without the fear, depression and despair that bullying can cause its victims.

Clara Ramos, who wanted to implement an 800-bullying hotline for Victoria students, isn't having much luck. She said she presented the idea to Victoria school district administration who were excited about it. A task force was formed and two meetings were held in July - nothing since. "The idea is at a stand-still."

Ramos asks why it is so easy to implement a program like Early Act First Knight (at Torres Elementary School) but not an 800-bullying number?

"We're trying to get a number - a plain simple number. We can't get it done. If I had the resources, I would do it myself. They have the paid staff to do it," Ramos said.

She noted that the Victoria school district is four to five times bigger than the other school districts that have done something. "Why is it the school district is not finding it so important?"

Diane Boyett, the district's communication specialist, said the task force will start meeting again in September.

"Basic ground work has been laid .... I suspect a few subcommittees will form, do their research and make their recommendations and then come back as a large group to develop that comprehensive approach," she said

We urge the Victoria school district to address bullying. Let's implement more programs and ways to stop bullying. We may save lives in the process.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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