Bullying: many solutions needed

By |2018-01-16T06:43:50-05:00February 3rd, 2011|Uncategorized|

Bullying is a big, complicated problem that’s influenced by tradition and technology, students and lawmakers, parents and teachers, inaction and fear.
Our story in this issue about the bullying summit in Detroit helps illustrate the complexity of the problem, as the Michigan Civil Rights Commission heard from experts, legislators, parents and bullying victims for hours on Jan. 25.
The commission held the public forum to help understand how to address the issue, and it may have left overwhelmed with more questions than answers: with so many cogs in the machine, where to begin?
It begins with you. No matter who you are, you can do something to stop bullying. Even if you don’t have children, you can tell your state Senator to pass Matt’s Law, an anti-bullying law that has languished for five years.
If you’re a relative to a school-age student, you can teach your him or her about respecting others and sticking up for those who are mistreated. You can also be a model for those youngsters: let them see what a socially responsible citizen looks like.
If you’re a teacher or a parent, your support of all students is incredibly influential: you have the power to help all kids get safely to graduation. You can make classrooms into safe zones. You can encourage students to recognize and stop bullies in their tracks. You can teach kids to be inclusive – and to make those who bully part of the minority, not the majority.
And as a teacher, parent, or just a citizen, you can encourage your local school boards to make effective anti-bullying policies and offer trainings to staff and students.
You can donate to local nonprofits that offer trainings to schools and safe places for LGBT adults and youth (many of them do offer such trainings, and if they don’t already, we bet they will at your request).
There is no quick fix. No single law or school policy or classroom lesson plan will save the day. Change takes time, and changing the fuzzy and hard-to-define culture that supports bullying isn’t going to happen overnight. But the enormity and the reach of the bullying problem also means that all of us have the power to help fix it. So ask yourself: What will you do?

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.