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Stott: Consensus on bullying a plus

Published: Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

The Daily Chronicle has recently taken an in-depth look at the issue of bullying. News articles have addressed the issue itself as well as ways it can be tackled.

Bullying has become a hot topic, especially lately. Technology has expanded the ways bullying can take place and bullies are working in different ways. Despite this resurgence of interest in bullying as an issue, it has been around long enough to affect everyone, even those who haven’t been in a classroom for decades.

The issue of bullying is slippery. The struggles are many. It often happens below the radar of even the most careful teachers and administrators. It can happen in classrooms, but not always. It can happen between classes in the crowded and noisy hallways. It can happen on school buses while the driver is occupied, or on walks home where adults aren’t present. Bullies can attack without saying a word, using texting and Facebook to attack others.

Even the most subtle bullying can have devastating effects on children and their families. Adults who were once bullied kids can tell firsthand how bullying negatively affected their lives.

It is rarely straightforward – often bullies have deeper difficulties that drive their actions.

The problem of bullying presents a plethora of issues just now being tackled by schools, parents and other activists. When it comes to grievous quandaries, bullying sits at the top of the list of problems that are hard to solve.

But there is good news. Who do anti-bullying activists have on their side? Everyone.

Bullying may be a tough problem to solve, but it isn’t controversial. It isn’t an issue like abortion rights or the legalization of marijuana. Nobody can argue for bullying – it is a universally known problem.

The fact that everyone can get behind the anti-bullying cause is a big plus. We see in politics how hard it is to accomplish anything when ideological differences are present. On bullying, most everyone already is on the same side.

Again, that isn’t saying it’s a simple issue. Bullying presents a lot of challenges for parents, teachers, administrators and students.

Of course, there is always room for argument. Different solutions may be presented. Strategies can be presented and shot down. It will not be an easy problem to fix.

But when it comes to problem-solving, the activists already have a goal in mind. They are already on step two. Now it is time to get everyone on the bandwagon and commit to championing this as a critical cause.

Recruiting people who can get behind the bullying fight is easier when the stance makes sense to them. It is especially more convincing when they likely witnessed it firsthand at some point in their lives.

A closer look at bullying is crucial. Now is the time to stop the cycle before it becomes any worse. In the fight against bullying, the best defense is one that is already in place – having everyone on the same side.

• Lauren Stott is a Maple Park native and a graduate student at Northern Illinois University in the master of public administration program. She can be reached at lauren_stott@yahoo.com.

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