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Bullying policies should be extended

November 23, 2010
Marshall Independent

Bullying is bullying and it unfortunately has become an ingrained part of our culture in our elementary schools and high schools, at times leading to tragic consequences. It takes place virtually at every grade level. It can happen in school, on the bus, through cyberspace, or even with cell phones. And we applaud the Minnesota School Board Association for zeroing in on a specific area of bullying as it announced last week that it's recommending school districts across the state expand their harassment and violence policy as it pertains to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.

This will likely become a controversial issue, if it isn't already.

Tom Prichard, the president of Minnesota Family Council, has concerns that revisions to bullying policies when it comes to GLTB students targets just certain types of bullying and says the action doesn't address the problem of bullying in general.

But what does it matter what group or what person is being targeted? Plus, like it or not, GLTB?students are probably more likely to be a target for bullying because there's already a prejudice against them.

At the very least, the MSBA is keeping the spotlight on the fight against bullying in our schools shining bright. Its action doesn't single out bullying against GLTB students, it includes those students as part of the population that is prone to bullying and harassment.

There's nothing wrong with adding to a school's bullying policy because, in reality, all students are potential victims, and in some areas where GLTB students might be more prevalent, revising bullying policies to include them is a wise decision. In the end, it's about supporting and protecting our children - short or tall, rich or poor, gay or straight.

Bullying has become far too commonplace in our schools and technology has added a nasty twist to the issue, so our schools should do everything they can to crack down hard on offenders, no matter what person or group of people they go after. If anything, we're too lenient on the bullies themselves. All schools should act now to not only extend their bullying policies, but to also practice zero-tolerance when it comes to disciplining the bullies.



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