Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Schools Create a Culture Where Bullies Can Thrive

I applaud this article even though it does not address the root cause of bully behavior. The problem is that school is essentially a prison-like environment where students have no power. We see this kind of power dynamic in very similar manifestations in prison as well. Schools, by their nature, create this culture that breeds this kind of behavior. The criticism here rightly sees the response by the community as yet another power grab to control students to even more disturbing degrees.

Should we be criminalizing bullies?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My heart aches for the parents of Phoebe Prince, the 15-year-old Massachusetts high school student who committed suicide in January after being relentlessly bullied at school and online.

My heart aches for her younger sister, who found Phoebe hanging in the stairwell of the family's home. A scarf the sister had bought her as a Christmas gift was knotted around Phoebe's neck.

My heart aches for Phoebe, who arrived from Ireland last fall only to endure months of abuse from classmates at South Hadley High School, the apparent result of Phoebe's brief fling with a popular football player.

My heart aches, but I also question the wisdom of filing criminal charges against nine of Phoebe's former classmates, as happened last week. Bullying should be taken seriously -- by teachers, administrators, parents and, yes, fellow students. I'm doubtful, though, that criminal prosecution is the best way to punish or prevent it.

Read the entire article

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