|Photo credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara
Bullying has become a problem of such proportions because schools often tend to look the other way. At the beginning of every school year, school authorities convene assemblies to announce a no tolerance policy towards bullying. Children are encouraged to report bullying to the counselors and teachers; however, either due to the volume of complaints or lack of trained personnel, the complaints get swept under the rug. With two children who have been through the public school system, I am aware of the horrors of the lunchtime school cafeteria and those unsupervised corners of the playground or the school corridors. I know of parents who had to remove their children from such environment and pay exorbitant fees to private schools to keep them safer and happier and not just to give them a better education.
Children that are bullied suffer loss of self-esteem, depression and anxiety and the trauma stays with them their entire lives. Schools have to nurture children and give them a carefree childhood instead of becoming a nightmare as they are apt to do nowadays. And there are none so blind as those who will not see; school officials must adopt stricter measures in combating this problem. “Bullying is 100 percent preventable,” Barba says.The schools certainly should not punish somebody who is creating that awareness. I think Jessica Barba is a heroine.
UPDATE: The school reinstated Jessica Barba today. It also promised to remove the suspension off her transcript. Hopefully, it will now encourage free speech on this subject and allow dialogue and independent thought to address the issue. For some more information on anti-bullying and proactive behavioral management, click here.