Commentary: Bullying — Why can’t we stop it?


By Maureen Downey
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Is bullying a fact of life?

It’s back in the news as Georgia’s Coalition Against Bullying plans a town hall meeting Aug. 15. Earlier this summer, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement encouraging doctors to take a bigger role in preventing bullying.

As a parent, I am relentless with my children about inclusion. If my 10-year-old daughter is at the beach building an elaborate sand castle and a 4-year-old girl wants to join her, I insist she let the little one help. Same for her twin brother. If he is playing soccer and some child is standing on the sidelines, I nudge Joey to invite the boy to play.

This does not always work out. My daughter’s efforts may be ruined because a 4-year-old doesn’t always want to build sandcastles; she may want to stomp them. And Joey, who is a serious soccer player, ends up watching the other kid wildly kick his ball around the field because the boy doesn’t like soccer and prefers to play keep-away.

A 2005 U.S. Department of Education report found that 14 percent of students ages 12 through 18 said they had been bullied in the past six months. The study said, “Bullied students are generally younger students of either sex, and are more often white than black.” The study noted no differences in bullying based on whether a child’s family is rich or poor or whether they attend private or public schools. Full story.

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