In another must-read piece in the New York Times: "There's Only One Way to Stop a Bully," two Williams College psychology professors say that bullying will end only when schools teach kids "how to be good to one another, how to cooperate, how to defend someone who is being picked on, and how to stand up for what is right." I couldn't agree more! These things need to be taught at home too. We ALL need to be part of the solution.
Regarding schools, though, since the advent of No Child Left Behind, there's been such a push for kids to do well on standardized tests, character education and social skills programs have been largely eliminated. Now, with youth cruelty on the rise, it's more important than ever to teach kids kindness, compassion, and common decency. Also critical is for kids and adults to be upstanders who speak up for kids who are picked on rather than looking the other way.
I'd like to urge all of you to share the Times article with your schools. If they say there's no time to teach anything but the three R's, help them understand that with over 50% of today's kids being bullied, we all need to respond. According to testimony before the American Medical Association, kids who are bullied are more likely to be depressed, lonely, anxious, and think about suicide. We can't afford to lose any more kids to the scourge of bullying, especially when solutions exist. If Johnny can read and write but he's too depressed to get out of bed because he gets bullied every day, what's all the rest worth, really?
We have the power to make things better. Now we need to harness the will to move ahead.
What do you think?
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