The state of Georgia has strong anti-bullying laws.
Our school systems have well thought out policies addressing bullying in schools.
Educators and community leaders have implemented dynamic anti bullying training programs.
Despite all these things, bullying exists.
It takes on many forms.
Whether it is teasing, taunting, harassing, intimating, embarrassing, or even physically assaulting, there is no place for any form of bullying in our school systems.
One of the challenges educators face is that bullying that begins at school often goes beyond what happens on campus and becomes increasingly difficult for school administrators to deal with.
Cyber-bullying can be among the worst kinds of psychological harassment and the embarrassment that can come from this very real form of bullying that occurs on social media has in several instances ended in the most tragic of consequences.
What may seem like harmless teasing to one person, can seem unbearable to another.
While we certainly believe teachers, administrators, school counselors and law enforcement personnel have a high-level of responsibility when it comes to identifying and addressing bullying and the bullies that commit it, the real front-line of the battle against bullying is in the home.
Parents must shoulder responsibility for raising responsible young people who treat others with respect and dignity.
More often than not, we hear from educators who have been met with denial and sometimes even aggression from parents who will not accept the notion their child may be a bully.
Denying a potential problem does not make it go away.
The state department of education has some great resources available on its website (www.gadoe.org) including a reading list for all age groups to help both educators and parents address the issue of bullying by reading about and discussing the issue with young people before it becomes a problem.
School counselors can also be great resources if parents will reach out to them for assistance.
Intervention, no matter how unpleasant, would certainly be preferable over suspension, expulsion or even incarceration.
We encourage parents to work with educators, not against them, as we all work together to create productive, fulfilling and safe learning environments for our young people.