by Tom Schiliro

The recent death of a 16 year old girl who was beaten to death in a Delaware High School bathroom has renewed once again the debate on dealing with such ‘bullying’ in our schools. In this case, the victim was attacked in the bathroom at Howard High School of Technology in Wilmington. Delaware police are questioning a number of students and hope to draw a conclusion with arrests as to why this tragedy occcured.
These and other similar instances of violence are occuring all too often in our schools and Long Island schools are not immune. Although this instance is the most extreme, less intimidating occurences are all too dramatic upon the victim. Vigilance by teachers, school adminstrators and parents can go along way towards decreasing the personal grief that innocent students experience.
Many school districts have anti bullying programs in place. These include seminars attended by all concerned in the recognition of the problem and ways in which to deal with those students who seek to destroy the educational experience of others. Many parents opt for alternative schooling for their children who have been victimized. Taking the child out of the situation seems to be a choice that does not deal with the problem and to a greater extent tolerates it.
Our children have a right to attend school, socialize with their peers and gain a meaningful learning experience from their classes and teachers. This is a right that cannot be abrogated in any way and therefore our schools need to genuinely commit to protecting the ‘good’ at the expense of the ‘bad’. In simple terms that violator (bully) needs to be removed from the normal school environment. Rather than the victim being home schooled, going off to charter schools or other available alternatives, the bully becomes the focus of attention.
Much good has been done so far but we need government action to allow school superintentents the legal authority to remove the most egregious offenders. Legal due process as part of State legislation to give school officials this option to remove an offender should be instituted. The law must limit school liability from wrongful accusation and be clearly defined to proceed with a stern commitment to school safety and the protection of the innocent. A child beaten in a school bathroom is a tragedy that can be prevented with legal authority and the stated vigilance.
Today’s use of social media can give school officials and parents a clear path to heading off any incidences. The warning signs are inevitably posted before and while intimidation is taking place. Close monitoring should be part of any action to combat school bullying. Many parents do not even have the passwords of their teenage children to monitor their social media activities. In fact, many of these instances could have been avoided with parental and school intervention. The 16 year old victim in Delaware undoubtedly posted some of her problems online and one wonders if these posts could have prevented this tragedy.
Closer school monitoring by teachers and adminstrators, more parental involvement and legal authority can go along way to begin to end the stress experienced by to many of our children. Community involvement and police input can help with guiding an end to this problem.

Tom Schiliro lives in Manorville and is the host of the LINEWS radio program “Eye On Crime” and can be heard on 103.9 FM @ 2 pm on Sundays. Any questions or comments can be addressed by email to saddlerockofny@aol.com,care of Tom Schiliro.

Filed in: Community Viewpoint, News

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