DASA working to take bullying out of schools

— “This is how, somehow, we become socialized in this culture,” Harshbarger said.

While shaping the minds of young people begins at home, so can bullying. If your house is the one that talks poorly about the neighbors and your child goes to school and repeats what was said around the dinner table, “you’re it. You’re the house,” she said, honing in on where bullying often begins.

To thwart creating a bully, parents can become models of kind, respectful behavior for their children.

“There was a time when bullying was a part of growing up,” Harshbarger said. “We are being asked with this law to roll the rock forward one more time so we don’t accept bullying as a part of growing up.”

Statistically, most children do not report bullying early on, she said.

“We can’t protect kids from all hurt, but we can put it into context to help them learn to cope,” Harshbarger said.

Superintendent Kim Dyce Faucette said it was extremely important to share information about DASA, and those in attendance were provided copies of the school’s student code of conduct as well as the district’s DASA policy.

The topic is particularly timely, given that the district has had at least one highly publicized incident of bullying of late. A student was assaulted by another student at Roxboro Road Middle School last year. The victim asked the school board to expel her attacker at the board’s Nov. 5 meeting, but the board refused to respond. The meeting last Tuesday also failed to address the incident at Roxboro, as well as the district’s lack of a response to the family’s concerns.

The district’s policy defines “bullying” as a “variety of intentional negative acts carried out repeatedly over time or a single negative act. It involves a real or perceived imbalance of power, with a more powerful child or group attacking those who are less powerful.” Bullying can take three forms: physical, verbal or psychological.

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