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Opinion: Parents Need to be Held Accountable for BullyingOp-Ed by Steve Siebold for Salem-News.com
Putting an end to bullying starts at home.
(CARSON, CA) - Carson, Calif., may become the first municipality in the nation to make bullying a crime, by treating it as an infraction or a misdemeanor. The Carson city council voted 5-0 this week to move forward with the anti-bullying ordinance, with a final vote coming May 20. While this is great news to hopefully deter the bullies, there’s another piece of the puzzle that’s missing – and no law maker, municipality or anyone else is talking about it.
Parents need to be held accountable for their children who bully other kids. The problem is many parents, while aware of the bullying, choose to ignore it. Many think it’s just simply a normal part of being a kid and growing up. But bullying today is much more than a rite of passage scenario; it’s a matter of life and death as we’ve seen time and again. In fact, with 15-25 percent of U.S. students being bullied on a regular basis, how can we deny this is a serious problem?
It's time to pressure educators, parents and politicians to work together to end bullying in American schools. They need to stop denying the problem and closing their doors, and start acting like leaders. Parents need to be more involved with their children, and stop bullying in its tracks. If not, parents need to be held accountable, too. There's no excuse for roughly 160,000 kids a day cowering in terror. The blame rests on the shoulders of the leaders we trust to keep our kids safe, and on all parents to be more involved and teach their kids to treat others like they want to be treated. Anti-bullying laws need to carry severe punishments, like jail time and monetary fines, and be enforced. Bullies should be banished from schools and sent back to their parents.
Suicide has become bullying's quiet little secret. It's picking off our kids one at a time. You can find these kids online on websites like YouTube just pleading for help. They cry, beg and even hold up signs screaming out for someone to listen. Young kids, elementary and middle school age should not have to live like this.
The delusional thinking as it relates to bullying is how many parents, teachers, school officials and religious leaders view this as kids just being kids. We have kids killing themselves, hiding out at home and even taking revenge in school shootings, yet it's being reduced by some authorities as a normal part of growing up? Today's bullies are more vicious than they were back in the 70s and 80s, and their victims are living a tortured existence with too many committing suicide.
We owe it to our children to protect them and provide a school and community environment where they can successfully and fearlessly learn and grow. It’s time to take a tougher position on bullying because this is more than a problem – it’s a national epidemic.
Putting an end to bullying starts at home. It’s time for parents to become more involved and stop bullying before it starts. Some say charging parents with a crime is taking the issue too far, but charging parents with a crime if their children are involved in bullying will send a message that this isn’t a game. It’s serious business with a price to pay if you don’t stop your kids from torturing other children.
Steve Siebold is author of Sex, Politics and Religion: How Delusional Thinking is Destroying America. http://sexpoliticsreligion.
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