2017-10-22 / Insight

EVERYDODY’S PROBLEM

A Lesson in civility: Bullying unacceptable

LAPEER COUNTY — In the next 7 minutes, a child in the U.S. will be bullied. It may be the son or daughter of someone you know or, worse, it may be your own. Meanwhile, only four in 100 adults will intervene. And only 11 percent of the child’s peers might do the same. The rest — 85 percent — will do nothing.

This is unacceptable.

According to the National Education Association, more than 160,000 children miss school every day out of fear of being bullied. Bullying takes many forms, ranging from the seemingly innocuous name-calling to the more harmful cyberbullying to severe physical violence. It happens everywhere, at all times to the most vulnerable of kids, especially those who are obese, gay or have a disability.

In December 2011, Michigan adopted a law requiring schools to create and implement anti-bullying policies. In January 2015, Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill requiring Michigan school districts to include cyberbullying in their anti-bullying policies and report bullying data to the state.

The legislative action couldn’t happen soon enough.

A study published in 2016 by personal finance social network Wallethub.com ranked Michigan as the state with the biggest bullying problem in the United States.

Wallethub used data collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Bureau of Labor Statistics, StopBullying.gov, National Education Association, National Center for Education Statistics, Cyberbullying Research Center and GLSEN to create categories that ranked the states on a 100-point scale.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, an opportunity we will take today to examine what two local school districts are doing to prevent bullying among their student population. All schools in Lapeer County have developed programs to address this serious issue. The County Press will continue to spotlight these programs in coming issues, as bullying needs more than one month of attention to address the issue that impacts many households on a regular basis.

Jeff Hogan

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