Back Up Bully Program Sees State to Start Taking Action

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Donna Crain Drury, director of the Back Up Bully program, sent in this great article about the progress of bullying legislation in the state:

Big kudos to KY State Representative Rita Smart (D-Richmond) for writing and presenting HB 316 in this legislative session! The bill brings attention to a very important issue, school bullying that is in much need of being addressed in a serious way.

Last Thursday the House overwhelmingly passed HB 316, which, if passed in the Senate, will define bullying as “any unwanted verbal, physical, or social behavior among school-aged children that involves real or perceived power imbalance and is repeated or has the potential to be be repeated.”

However, this bill does not go far enough to help put an end to a serious problem that children face every day inside and outside of school: bullying in severe form (severe enough that a greater number of children commit suicide in this period of time as a way to escape bullying).

HB 316 simply requires school boards to adopt a code of acceptable behavior to prohibit bullying, which must include procedures for investigating and responding to reports of bullying, and a method to protect a person who reports a bullying incident. Most Kentucky schools already do this but at times, that action does not keep a bully from repeating the negative behavior. In some cases, it only serves as a “putting fuel on the fire” and bullying worsens.

According to The State Journal, the number of Kentucky public school students accused of bullying, harassing or threatening others has reportedly tripled since 2012, according to the Office of Education Accountability, which revealed last fall preliminary results of its comprehensive school safety study.

The current state of bullying among children proves the problem is continuing to be more severe year after year. Children should NOT have to deal with this sort of bad behavior from other children, especially in school. They are in school to get an education, not to have to defend themselves from bullies or to deal with severe negative behavior from other students.

I am writing Rep. Rita Smart a letter expressing my concerns about bullying in public schools and will ask her to continue her work in addressing this serious problem for our children of all ages. A recommendation will be made to Rep. Smart that other bills be proposed that will have “teeth” in them to hold students accountable for their bullying behavior.

I encourage everyone to also write letters to their state legislators regarding this very important matter. We need to stand up and speak out for our children and grandchildren, who are reluctant to do so because of fear of retaliation. Again, children need to be allowed to be children in school and not have to deal with behavior issues that adults should be responsible for handling.

The “Back Up Bully” Program is still alive and working to educate children about using positive behavior instead of negative actions, as well as encouraging them to stand up for their friends and other children who are victims of bullying.

Please do what you can do to help with reducing this traumatizing, negative action that impacts many of our children. For more information about the Back Up Bully program, check out their Facebook page.

Info Source: Teach Empathy–Bil Aims to Define Bullying, but Students Say More Counseling Needed to Curb It, The State Journal, February 14, 2016, p.1.

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Posted in Family & Community, School & Education.

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