Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights: Pros and Cons

From this title you could easily assume that I'm not properly concerned about bullying in our schools.  That's not true.  And I'm the first to say that our legislators included many positive features in this act.  There are also some features that concern me.  So here goes.

The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights requires training for all.  I won’t quote the act, but there is training required for teachers, administrators, board members and more.  That’s no guarantee of success, but it’s a step in the right direction.

  • PRO: I think the training called for is a great thing.  Training up to the board of education level should help the board to understand what needs to be done in our schools.

  • CON: Simple economics.  Training takes both time and money.  Both are scarce resources in our schools.  Already a google search shows there is a cottage industry developing around the training mandated by the law.


"It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this legislation to strengthen the standards and procedures for preventing, reporting, investigating, and responding to incidents of harassment, intimidation, and bullying of students that occur in school and off school premises."

  • PRO: So prevention is clearly a goal.  Also, responding is later described specifically as possibly including more than just punishment for a bully.  Counseling, education, etc. may be just as important in many cases.

  • CON: "off school grounds" may turn into more than any of us realize now.  Think any and all types of cyber bullying, students in different schools, and who knows what else.  I may be looking for trouble needlessly here, but I'm not so sure.


". . .in an effort to minimize any burden placed on schools and school districts, existing personnel and resources shall be utilized in every possible instance to accomplish the goals of increased prevention, reporting, and responsiveness to incidents. . ."

  • PRO: Who could argue with more services and no more cost to taxpayers?  It sounds great on paper.

  • CON: This isn't how things work in real life. Unless the people who perform the various roles called for were spending lots of time on extended coffee breaks, the time they now devote to anti-bully efforts will take time away from something else.  This cost won't always be readily apparent, but it will exist just the same.


Please check back tomorrow for part 2 of my look at the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act.

3 comments: