The January death of Massachusetts teenager Phoebe Prince has alerted the public about the dangers of bullying. The pretty 15-year-old committed suicide after months of constant bullying by her classmates.
Bullying is a serious problem across the United States. A nationwide survey of more than 15,000 students in grades six to ten showed that 30 percent had experience with bullying. Eleven percent had been targets, 13 percent had been bullies, and six percent had experience in both roles.
Bullying has made headlines in Kansas and Missouri. In 2007, Brandon Myers, a 12-year-old boy from Kansas City, took his own life after being a victim of incessant bullying that his teachers failed to stop. Megan Meier of Dardenne Prairie, Missouri committed suicide three weeks before her 14th birthday. Her death was attributed to cyber-bullying on MySpace. In 2005, a teenager from Tonganoxie Kansas who was bullied for years because students believed he was gay sued school officials and was awarded a $440,000 settlement. The child had quit school because he could no longer bear the bullying.
When we send our children to school, we expect them to be safe – safe from harm, safe from injury, safe from predatory adults and safe from their peers. It is the school’s job to ensure that safety so our children can learn. When they fail to do so, they are violating our children’s rights.
The consequences of bullying can be tragic, but parents can help prevent bullying.
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