Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year, New Laws on Bullying

Illinois is just one of several states with beefed up bullying laws going into place in 2012.  House Bill 3281, sponsored by state Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) goes into effect today and allows schools to suspend or expel a student who threatens another student or a school employee via the Internet.  The only issue is that suspensions do not always work.  As we discuss in our book, suspensions are sometimes just a week to stay home, play video games and do nothing.  Perhaps requiring the bully and parents to do some research on bullying, its effects and the reasons why a bully would bully might just lead to some introspective thinking on behalf of the bully and their family.  Expulsion is definitely a harsher punishment to bullying that will get some attention by the bully and parents of the bully.

"Bullying no longer takes place only at school," Kay told the Belleville News-Democrat of the new law. "Bullies use the Internet to follow their victim home and harass them through social networking. This bill gives school boards and administrators a way to deal with online threats from students towards other students, faculty or anyone else."  Hopefully schools across the world will take a strong stance against cyber bullying in 2012.  If it happens online, it is happening at school.  Schools should also take a look at punishments for text bullying as well since the two are often done simultaneously.

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