Are Bullying Bills the Solution to Stop Bullying?

A quick search through your favorite search engine will show that bullying bills are all over the news right now. Several states are working on legislation that they really hope with help prevent bullying. The big question is, will they really work? Let’s take a look at a few potential bills and see!

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Bullying Bills in the Works across the US and Canada

Let’s take a quick look at the bullying bills in the works as of now. Now, I’m not exactly an expert on bills themselves, so I can’t explain all the ins and outs of every aspect of them. In order to determine if bullying bills are a good solution, though, we need to at least know the basics!

  • In Iowa, the House and Senate for the state seem to agree that a bullying bill is needed, but can’t quite agree on the details. The main part of the bill establishes a separate office in the Department of Education to deal with assisting schools in bullying prevention. The issue gets clouded when it comes to accountability. The bill, as it stands, appears to have language that would hold schools accountable for bullying incidents. Is that a bad thing? I sure don’t think so! Still, if the language is too vague or too strict, a school could end up in hot water over an isolated incident when they have an otherwise good track record.
  • Heading over to Minnesota, the proposed Safe and Supportive Schools Act is under fire, although I can’t quite understand why. The point of the bill is to force schools to develop written policies about bullying as well as train staff to recognize bullying. While I can’t see anything wrong with that, apparently some feel that the definition of bullying is too broad.
  • Florida was inspired by the Miami Dolphins bullying case to come up with a bullying bill of their own. This particular bill is aimed at keeping bullying out of sports by requiring players to sign a pledge against bullying. Teams that don’t at least make an effort to curb bullying could be fined up to $10,000. While this one has its heart in the right place, professional athletes pull in more money in one season than I’ll see in ten lifetimes. Do you really think the threat of coughing up $10k is going to stop them from bullying?

So will these bullying bills really work?

The big question remains: will bills to stop bullying really work? As much as I want to say yes, I can’t. The thing is, there are so many other things in this country that are illegal, yet people still do them. I am concerned that students will just find ways to hide their bullying, threaten more kids into silence, and so on. Then there is the matter of schools not reporting bullying out of fear of being penalized.  Still, I support bullying bills because at least it shows that we’re TRYING to do something. It’s a step in the right direction. The caveat? Bullying bills must be straight-forward and clear. Sadly, the US has a long history of vague bills with strange add-ons that have nothing to do with the topic of the bill itself.

Putting a stop to bullying is an ongoing journey for all of us. Sadly, bullying has probably occurred since the first men stood upright. Sadly, it will likely occur as the sun finally blinks out in millions of years. Does that mean we stop fighting bullying? No. We continue fighting and hope that, even though we know we can’t stop it, we can at least reduce the problem. Think of it this way: we still have no cure for the common cold, but that doesn’t stop us from washing our hands to keep from spreading germs. Just because we can’t completely end a problem doesn’t mean we don’t try to prevent it. Bullying bills may not be the cure, but if they prevent one child from committing suicide over bullying, it’s worth a try.

What do you think? Are bullying bills the solution? Will they work?

14 thoughts on “Are Bullying Bills the Solution to Stop Bullying?”

  1. Anti-bullying laws are far from perfect, but they may be a school district’s best chance to protect the victims of this unnecessary and often preventable offense. By giving states and schools clear guidelines in dealing with bullying behavior, perhaps many of the perpetrators of such acts will recognize there are consequences to their actions. At the same time, victims may feel safer going to school, which will raise the bar on our quality of public education overall.

  2. I support the bills and the changes that are being made but to me there needs to be more. IMHO bullying starts at home. Children learn how to treat others by watching how people and themselves are treated at home. People bully others many times because they are bullied or have little control of things in their life. Not to say this every single case but it is true for many. The ability to parent is not something we are born with and many had role models of parenting growing up that were abusive so now they are continuing the cycle. There needs to be more support for new parents and even not so new parents. If there was more supporting and less judging between parents everyone’s children would be better off.

    1. You are absolutely right. We need to be more proactive as parents, teach our kids how to treat others. I think it would be great if there was a program for new parents where they could learn more about bullying and how to prevent it in their own kids.

  3. No, bills are not the answer. No one thing is the answer, we must take a many-pronged approach. parental involvement, school involvement, law and policy, from soup to nuts everyone has to be in on this to make it stop.

  4. Laws are not needed in our school district. Our school is very unique. We have incredible teachers and staff who will not tolerate bullying. Kids are afraid to be a bully in our school. The bullying program starts in Kindergarten and the kids learn at a young age how to treat people with respect. Like the football coach said once, XXX [name] came into our school and wouldn’t smile and acted all tough, now I see him hugging kids in the hall. It’s awesome. Last time I was there a huge football player was walking a lost Kindergartener to his classroom. lol (Mayberry-like, indeed)

  5. I think the bills can help. However, as a parent of two kids who were bullied in school for years, I think there are many facets to this complicated problem. I think education and communication at home and school is also essential.

  6. I think its quite clear that bullying occurs when parents aren’t as involved in their children’s social lives as they should be. I’m not saying being a helicopter parent, but I’m saying having regular talks with your kids about bullying, will help stop bullying. Teaching kids right from wrong and what its like to be on the receiving end of bullying and what bullying says about them and to others is so important and clearly its lacking in this general of parents. No parent wants to think their child could be a bully, all children are capably of it. Heck my five year old bully’s my 2 year old in the sense that he takes toys away from him. Its my job as a parent to continually teach him his behavior is wrong. I think many parents ignore things like that too much. It starts at home, kids aren’t gonna know what bills are passed and what aren’t. But there should be a general treat people with respect rule where ever someone goes. Its a generational thing that must be stopped!

  7. I am going to have to admit I am on the fence here. I have seen too many laws past that had their hearts in the right place but end up making the problem worse. I will try to look at each law with an open mind but would much prefer to see adults acting like adults and setting the right example for their kids.

  8. I really think it will help as far as punishment but kids will always find a way to bully others. I think parents have to take charge and teach their kids the difference between right and wrong and educating their children. When my kids have been bullied, I have always taken action and contacted the school. I let them know right away my daughter’s side of the story and that I won’t tolerate the behavior.

    A few years ago some girl kicked my daughter’s clarinet over and kicked her, I think I immediately emailed her teacher. I made them aware of the situation and I let them know if the girl broke her clarinet that she would be paying to fix it. It was uncalled for and unnecessary. I found out later that year, that this girl was bullying several people and one parent was in the office with the principal addressing the issue.

  9. There certainly needs to be more done, and while these are not ideal solutions, it’s something. At least when I was a kid, if things weren’t going well at school, you got a break at home…. now with social media kids have little escape.

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