When I wrote this post Monday I didn’t realize the bill was going to be signed that afternoon.
So, now, after 2 terrible tragedies in the state of Massachusetts, stemming from horrific bullying-induced suicide, the state that started the American Revolution is the 42nd state to adopt an official anti-bullying law.
Of course, the pundits are coming from everywhere saying this law will be challenged as unconstitutional and it’s not really going to help…
Let me be clear: bullying laws will not stop bullying. What they do is give the victims a leg to stand on when said bullies go to far. Laws like this force the schools to get involved (and in some cases law enforcement), when the parents choose to ignore the situation.
The only real way to get rid of bullying, the only true way to stomp it out is a collision of 2 ideals that most people are choosing on their own to ignore:
- Parents MUST monitor their child’s activity on the Internet. Your child is just that – a child. The Internet is a tool – a very powerful, adult tool. Letting your child use this adult tool WITHOUT SUPERVISION is stupid, careless and irresponsible. It is imperative that you use monitoring software like PC Pandora to KNOW what your kids are doing online and KNOW how they are representing themselves and treating others. You really need to know if your child is a victim, and you absolutely must know if your child is a bully. Laws like this (which are in 41 other states) are going to hold parents accountable for their young bully’s actions… You don’t want to be in that seat in the courtroom.
- Parents MUST care when their child is a bully; and they must do something to stop it. The trend right now is to care only when the child is the victim – parents need to be equally concerned with their child being a potential bully. In fact, I challenge every parent to PROVE their child is NOT a bully. There are more bullies than victims (the complete reverse of the playground bully of 30 years ago), so chances are your child is now dishing it, rather than taking it… YOU need to check and make sure this is not the case. If it is – you need to care enough to stop it before it gets worse!
Anyway, read this story from the Boston Globe that looks at the free speech issue again. Bullying is not a freedom of speech. Those who cry for it and hide behind the First Amendment need to check their humanity and common decency. What would you do if your child was the victim – would you stand up for the bully?
When Governor Deval Patrick signed Massachusetts’ first antibullying law yesterday, supporters heralded it as the most far-reaching effort yet by a state to deter behavior that has driven youngsters to suicide.
But a number of civil rights lawyers and plaintiffs’ attorneys across the country and in Massachusetts say the new law may go too far, limiting students’ constitutionally protected free speech. They said it will almost certainly lead to legal challenges.