Thursday, March 11, 2010

We Must Bully Proof Our Schools

UPDATE: The Massachusetts Senate voted and successfully passed Anti-Bullying Bill (S 2283). The bill requires schools to develop procedures to prevent or stop bullying and increasingly pervasive cyber-bullying by students. LGBT kids and the children of LGBT parents are frequently the targets of some of the most vicious and cruel forms of bullying and cyber bullying. News stories of young bullying victims driven to suicide or violence necessitates quick action by our legislature. While there is no silver bullet to heal the lifetime of scars bullying can inflict, this bill forces schools to begin the process of prevention and training to protect at risk populations, like LGBT kids.

Arline Isaacson Co-Chair of The Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus stated, “The LGBT community is unfortunately all too familiar with the phenomenon of bullying. Many LGBT kids have experienced some of the cruelest and most vicious forms of bullying when they were in school. In recent years, the problem of bullying has been exacerbated by the increase in cyber bullying. Kids's homes used to provide some degree of refuge from bullies. But with the introduction of cyber-bullying, their homes are no longer any safer than being in school.

And while many people were raised to think of bullying as a normal 'right of passage', experts now recognize the serious and long term negative consequences of severe bullying. From recent teenage suicides to violent gun-laden outbursts in schools across the country, victims of bullying carry the scars of bullying for their entire lives. Educators and experts on bullying recognize that schools' responses to bullying is a critical part of the solution. When schools teach kids about what is and isn't acceptable behavior, when they train staff to intervene and more importantly how to intervene, when they keep parents informed of the situation, they can begin to change the culture of the school - and ultimately teach bullies, victims and bystanders lifetime lessons.

The Anti-Bullying bill we're lobbying will not end bullying, but it will make a huge difference to kids who are the victims of it. And it will certainly begin the very important process of changing school cultures and understandings about bullying in ways that will benefit all kids.... and hopefully save the lives of some of the most vulnerable ones. If defending LGBT kids & the kids of LGBT families makes MGLPC a 'slick special interest' AS RIGHT WING CRITICS HAVE CALLED US, then we're proud to say we are."

Call or
email your state senator before Thursday (3/11/) & ask them to support Anti-Bullying Bill S2283.
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