Position Statement (Assignment #3)
For as long as there have been public educational facilities there has been school bullying. It is an issue that seems to have no resolution. Instead, it intensifies as the number of students per classroom increases and as technology is made more readily available. Although bullying does not exclusively affect public school students or even just children alone, public schools have a duty to protect their students while they are in their care. Yet, many still report to feeling unsafe. According to DoSomething.org “3.2 million students are victims of bullying each year” and approximately “160,000 teens skip school every day because of bullying.” (11 Facts About Bullying) In New York, “1 in 5 public High School students has been a victim of bullying.” (New York Post) Although humans may always have the urge to bully even beyond adolescence, there are ways to monitor and protect students from school bullying. New York City public schools should conduct per-semester surveys and implement weekly team building and anti-bullying programs.
On September 13th, 2010 New York took a step in the right direction by signing into law the Dignity for All Students Act. This law became effective on July 1st, 2012. The DASA states that “The Dignity Act seeks to provide the State’s public elementary and secondary school students with a safe and supportive environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment, and bullying on school property, a school bus and/or at a school function.” (nysed.gov) As part of the act, DASA requires K-12 schools to incorporate curriculum that promotes awareness of and sensitivity to discrimination and diversity as part of civility and citizenship classes. DASA also requires schools to collect and report data on bullying to the New York State education commissioner at least once a year. (nyc.gov) However, this act alone does not do enough.
DASA requires New York City public schools to incorporate discrimination awareness into the curriculum, however, they do not state how often this material should be taught. In order to not create an obvious separation between the bully and the victim, team building activities and classes should be given on a weekly basis. In these classes, students can learn how to work together while carrying out an objective. These groups should be kept small and should have a therapeutic concept. Groups should change its members every semester. Teachers should monitor interactions between the students.
DASA also states that schools are required to report data at least once a year. With the start of every new semester, schools should conduct anonymous surveys to their students. These surveys should not be rushed or given at a time where a student may not feel that their answers will be kept anonymous. This per-semester basis would provide a closer look at how the team building groups worked, and if they were successful or not.
School bullying does not only affect a student physically, but also mentally and emotionally. It is a serious issue that effects how a student preforms in their schoolwork, but also in their lives outside of school. Bullying can have long lasting effects for both the bully and the victim. It is important that New York City treats this as a serious issue by mandating weekly programs and per-semester surveys in order to insure the safety of all public school children and to provide awareness to why bullying is not tolerated, and not okay.
- 11 Facts About Bullying. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2014, from https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-bullying
- 1 in 5 are bullied in NYC high schools. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2014, from http://nypost.com/2013/12/30/1-in-5-are-bullied-in-nyc-high-schools/
- The Dignity Act. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2014, from http://www.p12.nysed.gov/dignityact/
- About the Dignity for All Students Act. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2014, from http://archive.advocate.nyc.gov/bullying/DASA