October 28, 2009
Are you interested in putting an end to harassment in your school? The following is an anti-cyberbullying letter that you can send to your state representatives to support legislation for making schools safe.
I am writing to you to ask for your support of national legislation that will empower schools and educators in their efforts to protect students from bullying and harassment both in school, and through the use of technology. Once considered something of a rite of passage or just kids being kids, bullying is now defined by experts in the fields of mental health and criminology for what it is — an act of abuse and terrorism on our most vulnerable citizens. FBI investigations have determined that bullying has been a contributing factor in over 70 percent of all school shootings, and research has linked bullying to a host of educational concerns including everything from academic failure to depression, substance abuse, delinquency, gang proliferation, self-harm and suicide.
Bullying is often a red flag of more serious psychological problems that escalate over time. Research has determined that one-in-four students identified as pattern bullies by third grade are convicted of a violent crime before the age of twenty-six, and 98 percent of these will go on to abuse their spouse, children, and co-workers.
The good news is that there is a great deal that can be done to change this. Several states have recently passed laws to address bullying both in school, and through the use of technology. Unfortunately, the training and implementation varies greatly from state to state and district to district. Florida has recently passed The Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act. From the beginning, this bill was recognized as the best and most comprehensive in the nation. Jeff’s Bill has the “teeth” it takes to not only empower schools to protect our children, but to get help for the thousands of children that slip through the cracks of the education system only to end up in our criminal justice system as violent offenders. Before we demand that our children meet our high standards of academic achievement, we must first ensure the most basic duty of every adult member of society. We must guarantee our children the opportunity to learn in an environment that does not threaten their physical and emotional well-being.
I ask you as my elected official to please give your full support to this legislation, and help make America’s schools a safe and nurturing place to learn for ALL children.