Bullying: How should new laws & policies define bullying?

https://readthespirit.com/ourvalues/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/2013/03/wpid-0220_ov_bullying_stories_from_MSU_students.jpgDr. Wayne Baker, creator of OurValues.org, is away this week. He has invited Joe Grimm, a nationally known journalist and author to write a guest series on an emerging problem nationwide: Bullying.
Educators and government officials coast to coast are drafting anti-bullying policies. Grimm teaches at the Michigan State University School of Journalism and leads a major new project in which students are reporting on this emerging problem through an MSU student-run website. (Images at right are from the MSU project, which is called The New Bullying. Click on the images to read more.)
This is Joe Grimm’s 1st of five columns …

Bullying is headline news these days—starting with the challenge of simply defining the problem. This is crucial in the process of drafting new laws, developing new programs and organizing anti-bullying events. Anti-bullying games, songs and poems proliferate on the Internet and anti-bullying posters decorate our schools, staking out bully-free zones.

Tell us how you define bullying.

How do you recognize bullying?

Consider some questions we face …

Is it the same as hazing? The term hazing is at the center of some high-profile cases.

“Social exclusion”? This often is described as a harmful, almost secret kind of bullying.

Is it mainly a problem for kids? Bullying apparently isn’t just for children anymore. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory commissioners have accused their chairman before members of Congress of bullying staff. The co-CEO of Archie Comics started an anti-bullying essay-writing program after accusations that she has bullied employees. Newt Gingrich has been accused of bullying the media—and the media are accused of bullying just about everyone.

Are bullying facts overblown? That’s one of the issues a group of my students are looking at as they research and build this project that we’re calling The New Bullying. One teacher has told us that bullying has been around since Cain and Abel. She feels helpless in the face of online aggression, where one cyberbullying fact of life is that it happens long after the students have left the school.

Is our focus on bullying just a fad? One retired school administrator told me that bullying is trendy, “the flavor of the month.”

This week, we will dicsuss some of the facts about bullying, a recent trove of cyberbullying statistics and new types of bullying. You can make a real difference by the comments you add, this week.

What do you think about bullying?

Help us define these issues, so we can help officials define possible solutions.

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Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an online experiment in civil dialogue.

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