Bullying is a multi-layered cross-cultural plague. Our children are like little sponges, but with limited ability to filter and differentiate the information they see and hear for themselves and to determine what they should keep or throw out. Everything they observe has an impact and is demonstrating to them how to relate to others in the world and more importantly, how to relate to themselves. As we consider what they are observing, an ugly truth becomes clear; this epidemic is the continuation of our society’s unyielding intolerance and cruelty toward others and anyone who have any differences. Over a period of decades, teamed with technological advances that have desensitized people from each other, history continues on the same track of ostracizing those different from us through torment and ridicule.
Today’s world is different from the one that most of us grew up in. Getting chased home from school, after you’d taken a variety of methods to dodge a beating, at least helped get you to your front door and into the safety of your home. The school day may have been hell, but you had a reprieve. With the prevalence of the Internet and social media in our daily lives, it has left children the prey to a 24-hour cycle of abuse that is non-stop. Bullying is not just what you see anymore, it is the messages and threats that surround our children continually.
The National Education Association estimates that every day 160,000 kids miss school because of fear they will be attacked or bullied by other students. According to the National School Safety Center, there are over two million bullies in our schools who bully nearly three million students every year. Seventy one percent of students in K-12 report incidents of bullying at their school. It is imperative we begin to educate our children early on how to regain their power and not become the victim. Bringing about change requires a shift in societal norms and sticking to these expectations. This also requires real concrete consequences for bullying behavior. And it is imperative to remember that major change can be brought about by building on small grass roots changes. Organizations such as dosomething.org, stopbullying.gov, and The Bully Project are working vigorously to advocate to lawmakers and inform parents regarding the risks of bullying and the need for change.
Currently, there are no federal laws that are targeted at bullying behaviors. Federally funded schools are only required to intervene in bullying situations when the offence overlaps with harassment due to a person’s race, color, sex, disability, age or religion. That leaves the responsibility in the hands of each individual state. Currently, 41 states have laws and policies governing bullying behaviors, while 10 states only have bullying laws. Illinois only has laws governing bullying, and this included five laws that include cyber bullying.
Bullying is a worldwide issue that affects everyone at some point in their lives and in some way. It may be that you have been bullied, known someone who is bullied, or maybe you have been a bully. Everyone has been affected by bullying in some way. Millions of children are being affected by bullying behavior and statistics do not reflect that things are getting better.
If you are aware of anyone experiencing bullying issues, please contact Gwendolyn J. Sterk and The Family Law Group for a free consultation to discuss the details of your specific case. You may be able to secure a No Contact order under certain circumstances. You can contact our office at 815-600-8950.
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This is a legal advertisement from Sterk Family Law Group. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. This article is for informational and educational purposes only.