Clinton City and Sampson County schools are to be commended for their emphatic and persistence ant efforts to stop bullying.
It’s exactly what is needed — that and the educational components they’ve also added — to send a strong and clear message to students that being a bully is not acceptable at local schools.
The zero tolerance policy is one many have thought unnecessary, not understanding the sad truth that bullying is a problem that must be tackled. Yet, both public school systems are trying to educate parents and the public to its existence and, at the same time, take proactive approaches to stamping it out before problems escalate.
In recent weeks, for example, Clinton City Schools educators have ramped up their efforts, holding an educational workshop for parents, attempting to both open their eyes to the problem and to signs of their children being a bullying victim or, in some cases, the bully.
Coupled with that is a new system in place to allow for the anonymous reporting of bullying incidents, giving students a sense of comfort that they’ve not had before and, at the same, giving school officials a heads-up to potential problems that might now be tapped down before problems escalate beyond arguments or threats.
It’s a one-two punch that should prove successful.
Given that there’s already been an escalation in the number of reported cases of bullying, we’d say the system now in place is working as it should.
Bullying is a problem here and across the country. The only way to resolve it is to first face the fact that it’s a problem and then, like our school systems have done, put measures in place to ensure when it occurs the punishments — and the parental support for those punishments — is such that students understand the very real consequences of abusing another student.
But schools cannot solve the problem alone. It will take the help of parents, particularly parents of those considered bullies.
No one wants to admit that their children have issues, and no one likes to think their child could actually be a bully or the victim, even, of a bully, but facing up to the problems help everyone.
So we urge parents to pay closer attention to their children, watching them and, more importantly listening to what they’re saying and, in many cases, what they’re not saying.
And we encourage them to talk openly to their children, emphasizing why bullying is wrong and why, if you’ve been bullied, there’s no shame in admitting it.
Our hat is off to local school officials for their proactive approach to this problem. Rather than sweeping the issue under the carpet, they are admitting there’s a problem and they are doing everything in their power to see that it’s eradicated.
They could use our help. We hope they get it.