I Was Bullied in College

How To Deal With School Bullies Of All Ages

You know how jokes are often funny because they are based in an ugly truth? In the face of such blatant bullying, Sigal offers this advice: First thing you have to do is document, document, document.” Write down the date, the time, and exactly what happened. Despite the obvious pain you’re feeling as a parent, Sigal says, it’s crucial to be as reasonable and objective as possible. To help give context to what you document, it’s a good idea to look up the laws and policies related to bullying in your state In California, for example, two key elements of the antibullying laws and policies are the purpose and scope of the bullying. Understanding what violates the law can help parents as they document what they see and hear.

But first, a thanks to my partners in this effort. Teen Ink, a magazine for teenage writing, was hugely helpful in sifting through all 1,200 submissions and narrowing them to 59 finalists for me to go through along with my assistant, Natalie Kitroeff. Stephanie and John Meyer of Teen Ink offered important suggestions for how to run the contest and a digest of important themes that resonated through the many submissions. Some writing about bullying can also be seen on Teen Ink’s website and here at The New York Times Learning Network , as well as on Harvard Education School’s Ed. magazine.

While I am of the conviction that school personnel are responsible for keeping kids safe, I am equally convinced that teachers today have so much on their plates that safeguarding kids’ emotional well-being is a real challenge for them. Nonetheless, be clear; I believe that educators and parents share a collective responsibility to create a culture in which bullying is unacceptable and to protect kids from physical and psychological harm. When schoolchildren are bullied relentlessly and without adult intervention, they have difficulty succeeding academically. For this reason alone (notwithstanding their moral obligation), bullying is a problem educators are duty-bound to address.

Comprehensive antibullying laws could protect employees and provide incentives for employers to respond to bullying. Provisions of one proposed law, New York’s Healthy Workplace Bill, include compensation for targets of workplace bullying who can demonstrate physical or psychological harm; at the same time, the law would shield from liability employers who engage in preventive actions. The Healthy Workplace Bill would force employers to pay serious attention to complaints from employees. Such a bill would make a difference for those individuals who have witnessed or experienced workplace bullying.

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