West Junior High students ask for anti-bullying classes

Friday, May 20, 2011 | 9:59 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Students in Columbia have asked the school district to augment its education about bullying.

In grades 6 to 8, students have a 50-minute lecture once a year about the issues of bullying, suicide and depression. The group of ninth-graders from West Junior High School told the Columbia Public Schools policy committee recently there should be a monthly class about the issues.

Chandler Randol and his classmate, Haley Benson, said the class could cycle through the schedule so as to not take away time from any one class.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that the pair represented a team of West Junior students that earned second place for its bullying proposal in the statewide "Project Citizen" competition. The students decided to tackle suicide because they saw it as a growing issue.

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fred smith May 20, 2011 | 12:35 p.m.

I have an idea. Throw the bullies out of school and use the time allotted for the class to teach language-arts, math, science, history etc

(Report Comment)
Ida Fogle May 20, 2011 | 1:53 p.m.

There can be a problem with determining who the bullies are. Having spent a fair amount of time volunteering in classrooms, I've seen some of the "good" kids get away with quite a lot. These are the kids who have enough social savvy to know how to fly under the radar. Having more adults around can help, the better to get a more full picture of what is really happening in the classroom.

Really, I have a problem with labeling people instead of behaviors. The classes on bullying could well do with a section on scapegoating.

Veering off on a bit of a tangent, it would be nice if the school district had some sort of ombudsman type person from whom parents and students could seek assistance without fear of backlash when a student (and/or their family) is being bullied by an teacher or other staff member. This does not happen often, in my experience, but it does happen. Unfortunately, parents and children are left with little recourse, unless they are in a position to be able to homeschool.

(Report Comment)
Ida Fogle May 20, 2011 | 2:23 p.m.

Did I pass English or not? *A* teacher, not *an* teacher. Ah, the perils of attempting to multitask.

(Report Comment)
fred smith May 20, 2011 | 4:20 p.m.

Ida, said,"There can be a problem with determining who the bullies are. Having spent a fair amount of time volunteering in classrooms, I've seen some of the "good" kids get away with quite a lot.”
Ida, I agree with your statement. Having taught, I’ve experience the difficulty of sorting out the truth in such situations. What bothers me most is not that the bad kids are not being punished but the good kids are being left to suffer.
And they suffer in more ways than just being bullied; there is the unnecessary anxiety in class and the lost instruction time as the teacher deals with the bully. The bullied student may also withdraw from classroom participation out of fear or they may skip school and stay home.
The price the truly good kids pay is too great to allow the bullies to remain in the school. They need to be put out and not allowed to return. Perhaps then the parents will take action to correct their child’s behavior.

(Report Comment)

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