MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

April 5, 2012

THE PEOPLE SPEAK – Fort Gibson schools should end bullying

Attention Fort Gibson School Board, you have teachers who are failing to properly address the problem of bullying when it arises. Your future as a member is in jeopardy. I’m merely a concerned grandparent, but if you don’t want dozens of us showing up at your normally calm meetings, along with the local TV news people, you may want to address the problem.

Here is the specific problem I refer to, bullying victims are being punished for fighting back against bullying. That has to stop. You cannot have a policy which punishes the victim. At some point, some victims of bullying will fight back, and the injustice they feel from being punished is justified. They see the person who does the bullying go unpunished for what they do, and they get punished for fighting back. That causes them to see the system as unfair, which it is.

You cannot have a policy which mandates punishment for those who are merely protecting themselves. In other words, you can’t have a policy that is blind. Not only is the policy unfair, it also fails to address the actual problem. It appears that’s the way your teachers are dealing with this bullying problem. Do you folks think these students are unaware that school policy will protect them when they bully? Of course they are aware, and they will use that policy against the victim.

Quit assuming these kids are as stupid as you appear to be. A fair and proper policy wouldn’t automatically punish someone simply for fighting when they were provoked. They are simply defending themselves. You evidently have a policy which punishes students for fighting, regardless of the circumstances which caused the person to fight back.

Either change that policy or suffer the political consequences. No school board member who supports such a policy is qualified to sit as a member, and may even be violating the law. This notice should be all you need to immediately fix the problem.

J.R. BURRIS

Muskogee

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