Bullying a real concern for parents, schools

Published 12:12 am Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Troy mother’s public plea to raise awareness about bullying issues among youngsters needs to be heard.

The mother, whose middle-school daughter is being teased and bullied, made her concerns known publicly this week, saying that while schools and counselors are doing what they can, parents need to be more involved in their teens’ lives and to understand what’s going on.

And she’s right.

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According to the National Education Association, our schools harbor nearly 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 victims. And there’s more:

* 1 in 7 students say they have either bullied or been a victim of bullying.

* 56 percent of students say they have personally witnessed some type of bullying at school

* 71 percent of students nationally report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school.

* And, frighteningly, 90 percent of all fourth- through eighth-graders report being victims of bullying.

It’s not an issue that will simply going away. The playground taunts of generations past have progressed, to cyberbullying and locker-room harassment. The advent of social media takes the teasing and taunting to a new level.

And, like the middle-schooler’s mother said, parents must get involved. Parents need to talk to their children, to know if they’re a victim or a bully. Parents need to be involved, especially in those awkward middle-school years when children struggle with the desire for independence and are sadly most often the subject of teasing and taunting.

Bullying is real, and it’s a real danger to our children.