Dear Reader:

If I could wave my magic wand, I would make it that bullying doesn’t exist, but it does and it’s crucial we address it.  Hopefully this blog will to lead to a heart-to-heart discussion about bullying and the steps you can take if someone you care about is affected.

Bullying is like a dark cloud that hangs over the lives of our kids. Threats, rumors, physical or verbal attacks, or purposeful exclusion from groups are all aggressive, unwanted, unwelcome behaviors that strip our children of their power and leave them feeling small, hopeless, and feeling like no one cares.

Want to know what’s worse? Often kids who are targeted already perceive themselves as different from their peers—whether it’s due to their physical attributes, or just because they’re the new kid in school. They’re picked on, not because of something they do or did, but because they showed up and are themselves.

Each state has its own set of laws about bullying. But these laws usually don’t make bullying a crime. Instead, they push schools to take steps to prevent and address bullying. Schools are supposed to have rules against bullying and ways to handle it if it happens.

But here’s the catch: not all state laws are that effective at making schools act. Sometimes, despite these laws, schools tend to ignore the bullying that’s happening right under their noses.  The result: eight out of ten times when a kid is bullied, no adult steps in to help.

That’s a bit disheartening, right?

Did you know that nearly 30% of students aged 12 to 18 have been bullied at school? Around 70% of students and teachers have witnessed incidents of bullying. It’s a big deal. Bullied kids often skip school or experience physical symptoms like headaches or stomach pain. In serious cases, some try to hurt themselves.

So, there’s a push to make schools do better. Some people think making bullying a criminal offense isn’t the answer. It could end up causing more harm than good. Instead, there’s a call for better policies, training, and oversight in schools to prevent bullying.

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The reality is bullying leaves scars – emotional and physical.  It’s not just the physical pain – students suffer from anxiety, depression, and sometimes, tragically, even suicide.

Laws exist, and they send a message that bullying won’t be tolerated. But we need more than laws – we need action. Schools must have policies to prevent bullying, and adults should step in when they witness bullying happening.

If bullying rears its ugly head in your life:

  1. Write down incidents, complaints to the school, and their responses.
  2. Make a timeline to show how long the bullying has been going on.
  3. Reach out to experts, your school, and even local police if necessary.
  4. Familiarize yourself with your school’s anti-bullying policies – knowledge is power.

It’s time to shine a light on bullying, support one another, and create a world where every child can thrive without fear. It truly takes a village to raise a child, and together, we’re that village.

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If your child has ever been injured by bullying behavior remember you’re not alone – call my office. I have over forty years of experience as a personal injury attorney in our community and will be happy to provide you with the counsel you need to help your child and ensure they can receive an education without the fear and constant threat of bullying.

Now I’d like to hear from you.

What are your thoughts on bullying?  Do you have a personal story about how bullying impacted your life?   What are your suggestions on how we should address this critical topic in our schools and in our communities?  Please share your stories and comments by responding and I’ll pass them along in a future post.

Until next time, please be safe, and NEVER text while driving!

Paul Samakow

Attorney Paul Samakow

703-761-4343 or 301-949-1515.

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