We approve of a new state law requiring school districts to have bullying and prevention plans in place, although it’s disappointing if any Illinois school needed to be told to do that.
Fortunately, most local school districts do have a plan in place and have been taking bullying seriously for several years to foster a safe learning environment for all students.
It’s unrealistic to expect schools to be able to control every individual incident of bad behavior, but we can and should expect them to protect students and make sure there are consequences for students threatening, intimidating or physically injuring other students.
But it’s also a community effort, and we’re pleased to see State’s Attorney Jason Helland and the Grundy County No Tolerance Task Force organizing a forum in October on cyberbullying.
The forum is for parents and adults, as well as school faculty and administrators. Participants will learn how bullying and teasing can cause depression and, in some instances, result in suicide.
An anti-bullying assembly for students is scheduled for Oct. 8 at Morris Community High School.
The parent forum, Helland said, is a proactive approach to prevent bullying with the hopes of educating parents to see the signs of being the bully or the victim.
Even the most well-adjusted, confident students could face bullying, and we shouldn’t blame victims. Showing kids that bullying isn’t acceptable, while also teaching them how to build their confidence, character, attitude and wit, will go a long way toward deflating the power of verbal taunts and emotional abuse.
These are valuable lessons that these teens will carry into adulthood, and we applaud teachers, community members and many others for taking a stance against this problem – and for making sure it’s an issue that is publicly discussed.