This article (link, excerpts below) is a heart-rending story of a girl picked on in a lower middle class school because she was too affluent. No one who reads this story would say that the school did nothing. No one though could fail to feel the girl’s and her parent’s pain.
In my opinion legislation such as the Dignity Act only go so far. In my opinion, schools must encourage not only reporting by other students on bullying incidents, but also efforts to involve them socially. Bullying would hurt far less if the victims did not feel ostracized as well as picked on. The bullies would and should feel ostracized themselves. People who have an agenda and something to offer do not bully. It’s that simple.
Bullying is done by weak people, by cowards. Having policies on paper is fine; insinuating that into the daily fabric of life is what’s needed.
[INDENT]The teasing started in October, the beginning of Julie’s freshman year at Port Chester High School.
“I give my daughter credit,” her mother, Sally, told Westmore News. “She got up every morning and went to school every day knowing what the girls would do to her. I give her a lot of credit, because they were nasty and she had classes with them.”
The names of Julie and her parents have been changed to protect their anonymity.
In addition to comments muttered in class, three of Julie’s classmates made snide remarks in the hallway during school.
“They used to call her ‘little rich bitch,’” Sally said. “‘When you turn 16, what kind of car you gonna get when you turn 16?’ Leave her alone. Barbie doll, used to call her Barbie doll. Leave her alone.”
Some of the comments were made in Spanish, but Julie could still tell they were about her.
Noticing her daughter coming home each day from school with tears in her eyes, Sally urged her daughter to report the incidents, which she did starting in January. School and district administration spoke with the three freshmen, but it did not seem to deter them as the comments continued. Julie’s parents decided to intervene and reached out to the school. During a roundtable discussion with the administration, they were assured the girls would be reprimanded again.
The same day her parents were being assured the bullying would stop, their daughter was crying in an assistant principal’s office.
Julie’s parents again contacted the school district and were informed that the three girls would all be suspended for four days right before Spring Break.
“They were told, ‘Stop.’ The one girl left her alone and she went back to school. The other two continued,” Sally said. “After these two girls got suspended, they were cyber bullying.”
The two girls took to Facebook to continue their tormenting, which Sally accidentally stumbled upon.
“My daughter said to me. She said, ‘If you didn’t see it, you would never have known, Mommy,’” Sally said.
By the time the police and ambulance arrived, with her family shortly behind them, Julie had already slit her wrists.[/INDENT]
What the article obviously doesn’t highlight is that racial minorities are picking on a white girl. This may account somewhat for the less than muscular response by the school.