03/23/10 — Bullies: What's the concern? That it does not seem to shock anyone under 17.

View Archive

Bullies: What's the concern? That it does not seem to shock anyone under 17.

Another story of a student at a Florida school who was beaten up by one of her classmates has hit the news this week.

This time, it was a boy, upset by a text message, who decided the right way to handle the situation was to beat a girl so badly that she is now in a medically induced coma.

Shocking in itself, right? Well, what if you found out that this was the second time at the same school that a student was beaten so badly by classmates that he or she ended up in the hospital?

The story is hard to imagine, especially to those from generations where such an action is unthinkable. But it is also a warning sign, not just for that Florida school, but for all of us who have concerns about the future of children.

Bullying does not just exist at this one school. It happens every day in every school across the country. It is often dismissed as a rite of childhood -- and as something that schools can control. Many adults use as reference their own school experiences.

But what is so scary is the level of violence seen in schools these days, the fervor of the taunting and the number of children facing serious struggle as they try to get an education.

Schools try to fight it, but getting the information is difficult and the insensitivity to violence hard to manage. It seems many of these bullies just do not get how serious their actions are -- or the consequences they could have on their and someone else's life.

This is a problem that needs a serious look in every school in America -- and should be on the minds of every parent, teacher or anyone who deals with students.

It should also make us wonder a bit, if perhaps our children might benefit from a little less exposure to video games and raucous TV shows and a little more instruction on dealing with others, anger management and the real effects of violence.

Waiting until it happens in your community, at your school is not an option. Dealing with the issue now, unified as a community, is the answer.

Bullying is a discussion that should happen around a dinner table and in local classrooms. Children should be encouraged to talk about not only how they are treated, but how they think they should treat others. It is too important a topic to leave to chance.

It only takes one incident to destroy a child's life -- either victim or attacker.

And that is a sorrow no community should ever have to endure.

Published in Editorials on March 23, 2010 10:22 AM