How stupid are the school board and the school administrators in Peabody, Massachusetts?
They say that the law intended to save students from bullying and its often suicidal after-effects "creates more work for administrators, costs too much money and is ultimately ineffective."
"All of this is nonsense," said member David McGeney.
The new law, McGeney continued, "will increase the number of (bullying) reports, increase the number of lawsuits, increase the time staff spends trying to implement the guidelines, but I don't think it will increase the safety of students in a school district with a competent administration."
Mayor Michael Bonfanti said he shared those sentiments.
The main concerns are how much time and money will be spent on filing bullying reports, mandated teacher trainings and classroom time devoted to bullying prevention.
Peabody's proposed 11-page anti-bullying policy requires school staff to immediately report any bullying to the principal. If the principal determines that bullying took place, he or she must notify parents, administer corrective action, and take steps to protect the target of the bullying and any witnesses.
But it's all such a bother, complains the Peabody School Board.
Meanwhile, the father of Ryan Halligan, a 13 year old who committed suicide after relentless, evil bullying, just recently spoke to the students in Peabody.
Ryan Halligan was just 13 when he committed suicide in 2003 after classmates at his school in Essex Junction, Vt., harassed and teased him relentlessly, both online and at school. Recently, Ryan's father, John, spoke to every student about the events that led to his son's death. The brutal name-calling. The false rumors that he was gay. The story of the cruelty of a popular girl who pretended to like him online, only to laugh in his face and call him a "loser" in front of her friends as she revealed that the whole flirtation was a mean joke.
And Massachusetts state law even requires the school to have such a policy. The law was passed in response to the suicide deaths of 11-year-old Carl Walker Hoover, a sixth-grader in Springfield, who was ruthlessly teased, despite his mother's pleas to the New Leadership Charter School to address the problem, and she found Carl hanging by an extension cord on the second floor of the family's home just minutes before she was going to a meeting to confront school authorities again, and 15-year-old Phoebe Prince, a student at South Hadley High School, who killed herself after being raped and enduring months of torment by classmates in person and online, of which school teachers and administrators were aware.
So it's not really up to them whether or not they want to save kids from bullying. But I can't wait for the first lawsuit after they fail to enforce the law and their policy. Oh yes, that's one of their concerns too. Lawsuits. This will give parents a leg to stand on in courts. The School Board don't wanna be bothered with this. I supposed they would prefer to operate with complete impunity. Obviously, these people don't care about kids. Oh, they say they do. But not really. How vigorously do you think they're going to work on combatting bullying, with these attitudes?
For shame, Peabody, Massachusetts.