Bullying: Something we’ve all heard of or either dealt with in some way.  Something some children deal with on a daily basis while they are away from home. Do you know what your children are facing during the school day?

Bullying and harassment is a big issue that many children are faced with in more ways than one. Bullying can occur in many different forms.  From punching, hitting, name-calling, and advanced to levels of intimidation through gestures or social networks and the Internet, bullying and harassment is a big deal.

It impacts children, adolescents, and even older adults in a physical and psychological way.  These types of issues take a big toll on students and can create an atmosphere of physical fights, verbal altercations, and even serious incidents like death.

The House of Representatives 1199 Bill has been introduced to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to address and take action to prevent bullying and harassment of students.  The purpose of this bill is to propose local educational agencies to enforce policies that will stop bullying and harassment.  So far the bill has only been introduced and referred to committee as of March 2013. It still has to be passed by the House, then by Senate, and then signed by the president. Why should we push for this bill? Why should children have so much to carry on their plate? Why should children have to worry about leaving the comfort of their homes and going to school, spending long hours of their daily lives afraid of being pressured and pushed around? They shouldn’t.

An interesting fact about this bill is that Congress finds that schools with anti-bullying and harassment policies have an increased level of reportings and teacher interventions in incidences of bullying and harassment.  This can eventually reduce the number of overall incidents and frequency in which bullying takes place in the school system. This proves that putting a policy like this one into place will effectively help put an end to bullying and harassment in general, therefore making the school system a safer place.

As students of social work, there are a lot of different policies that we must learn in order to be able to advocate appropriately for all mankind.  Social workers should be involved in policy advocacy to become better leaders of society. They will become the leaders of the community and leaders of individuals who agree with the social changes they are attempting to make.  This is a specific issue that needs to be addressed; the effects of bullying in the school systems across the United States.  Bullying is something that starts at an early age in children and progresses into adolescence and even adulthood.  Bullying and or being bullied takes a very negative impact on those involved. If the issue could also be stopped from a school standpoint, it could spark the same flame into the home and the community.

The entire purpose of H.R. Bill 1199 is to improve schools to be safer places for students to learn and to be individuals without being punished for such. The goal is to stop this from happening so the community as a whole can work together to keep children safe. The children are the future, so their safety should be a priority of those with authority to change the environment in which children learn. Will you help advocate for change?

 

 

 

Lauren Norton and Michelle O’Neil are graduate students at the University of Southern California.

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