The Murray Human Rights Commission met on April 16 to discuss bullying as a problem in the Calloway County school district.
The commission reviewed a possible action steps they could put in place to stop the problem.
Allan Beane, author of the Bully Free Program, travels across the U.S. to educate schools about the issue of bullying. He attended the commission’s meeting to introduce his program.
The Bully Free Program: Stopping the Pain and Violence, is designed to train school administration, teachers and bus drivers on how to prevent and deal with bullying in schools with children in grades kindergarten through high school. The participants receive five hours of anti-bullying training.
No one should have to live in fear of being bullied, Beane said.
He said bullying is a problem everywhere, often destroying a child’s sense of security.
“Some kids are mistreated all day long and sometimes for years,” Beane said. “They begin to feel like they are being victimized. This is nothing short of abuse.”
Beane said in some cases social media could contribute to bullying, continuing on into college.
“Technology has made this more intense and prevalent,” he said.
It is not frequent in college, but there have been incidents in which students have keyed other students’ cars, Beane said.
Beane said there are many definitions used to describe bullying. He said the state of New Jersey defines bullying as any behavior that damages a persons sense of security.
He said there have been cases where school Principals do not feel the Bully Free Program is necessary because there is a small number of children being harassed by their peers.
“One child being bullied is one too many,” Beane said.
Beane said there are four types of bullying, physical, verbal, social (relational) and cyber.
Boys and girls tend to differ when it comes to the type of bullying they use. Girls tend to use indirect types of bullying such as verbal abuse, while boys typically are more physical.
Bullying can lead to a child being psychologically and emotionally damaged for years throughout adolescence and in some cases into adulthood.
Beane said bullying could be prevented if there were people in the school systems willing to take on a role of leadership and hold students accountable for their actions.
Mayor Bill Wells said some might not see bullying as a problem in the school districts, but it does exist and there needs to be a remedy.
“If the schools say there is nothing going on here, then they have their heads in the sand,” Wells said.
He said the committee has more to discuss about a plan of action to stop kids from being bullied.
Brian Clardy, Murray State faculty member and member of the Human Rights Commission, said no child should have to suffer from being bullied or live in fear of going to school everyday.
“I see it everyday,” Clardy said. “This type of madness. I find it unsettling.”