Bullying in our schools has become a national topic of discussion. It hits every grade level and can make a child feel helpless, anxious, depressed and even scared. It’s heartbreaking as a parent to see our kids go through this when our entire goal is too keep them happy and safe. What can we do as nation to address the issue? Some states are tackling it with more stringent anti-bullying laws, however, a successful individual approach is to offer our kids anger management classes.
New Jersey has recently brought the topic to the limelight once again with the announcement that there continues to be a great deal of bullying going on in their public schools. Data from individual school districts show that there were 12,024 reports of harassment, intimidation and bullying reported in the 2011-12 school year. This is the first year that the schools have had to file this report, so it will be interesting to watch comparisons in years to come.
Governor Christie approved a bill over a year ago which advocates say gives New Jersey the toughest anti-bullying law in the country. It came on the heals of the suicide of a Rutgers freshman after his roommate posted a romantic encounter between him and another man on the web. The new law requires training for public school employees, and school districts will be graded on their efforts to deal with the problem. Administrators who don’t look into and handle reports of bullying are to be disciplined and students who bully will be suspended or expelled. School employees have to report everything they hear about, even if it’s off school grounds.
Once an issue that administrators and some parents felt that kids just needed to deal with, bullying has evolved into a serious national issue. To help prevent bullying, New Jersey and other states could benefit from having districts offer or recommend online anger management classes for kids. We just don’t need to stand for it anymore! A proactive approach is key to stopping this cycle. Taking classes specifically designed for adolescents is an easy, interesting and educational way to approach the topic. Programs talk about how to get to the root of the bully’s anger and take responsibility for his actions. What are alternate ways to cope with this aggression? Students learn to better deal with stress, how to regulate their emotions and try alternate behaviors. Specific tools to use to change attitudes and harmful behaviors are taught, so the student is left with the knowledge of how he can get a point across or deal with a situation without being a bully.
These are beneficial tools for every child to be armed with at any early age. Taking the classes online offers the students privacy in their own homes and the convenience to take them wherever web service is available. Giving children the opportunity to take the class can affect current bullies by teaching them empathy, prevent future bullies and empower those feeling bullied to reach out for more help.