Crusade against Cyber Bullies
Kevin joins Dr. Phil via satellite from Washington, D.C. He says that tackling bullying is a complex issue. "In the end, we can't look for some salvation through laws; we can't prosecute this problem away. Obviously, we need very clear policies, because when kids are told what is acceptable and what is unacceptable behavior, they're more likely to behave appropriately," he tells Dr. Phil. "Whether it's behavior in the virtual world or in the real world, it's the same rule: You don't treat people in hateful ways."
Dr. Phil praises teachers, acknowledging that they are overworked and underpaid. Yet, he says some educators feel that they are limited in their anti-bullying methods. "What do we need to do so we get away from these educators saying, ‘Look, this is happening off campus. We don't have the jurisdiction. We don't have the legal authority here'?" he asks.
[AD]"That's a smoke screen," Kevin replies. "If a kid is getting hurt, it's our job as responsible adults to do something about it."
Dr. Phil turns to Parry. "If we expect for teachers to do what Kevin and I are talking about here, don't we need, number one, to come up with the funding? Don't we need to add this language to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act? Don't we need to provide the funding so we can teach the teachers how to recognize [cyber bullying], how to intervene and mediate after it happens?" he asks.
"It's funding, it's getting the word out, it's professional development and it's all joining forces," she replies.
Charles adds his thoughts. "We all need to be lifeguards for each other, and learn the warning the signs of suicide, and how to help somebody who's suicidal, and to be somebody who can refer youth to the appropriate resources," he says.
"I want to be very clear: I don't think we just need to punish these bullies; I think these bullies need counsel. I think they need help," Dr. Phil says. "We know that bullies tend to come from homes where there's been a lot of control, a lot of dominance, poor modeling."
[AD]Parry's program Don't Stand By, Stand Up, encourages teens not to be bystanders if they see someone being bullied. "I want all the young people out there to take a stand on this one, saying, ‘When I see it, I'm going to stop it, and never again,'" she says.
If a friend or loved one is talking about or planning to take his or her life, reach out for help now. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK (8255).