March 15, 2005
On Tuesday, March 15, Albemarle County Public Schools held a presentation focused on helping parents recognize the warning signs of bullying.
The school system started their anti-bullying project five years ago, though (R) Delegate Rob Bell of Albemarle County proposed the bill into law recently.
Whether you're a victim or an aggressor, the percentage of bullying incidents nationwide are startling.
"30 percent of students are either bullies, or victims", said Dr. Peter Sheras, a clinical psychologist with the University of Virginia.
It's a problem you've all heard about, and it's hitting some parents too close to home. Studies show a whopping 160,000 students miss class each day because of aggressive behavior.
"Sometimes students come in the morning, or parents will call with concerns from home", said Dave Rogers, Principal of Jack Jouett Middle School.
At Jouett, officials are taking steps to help parents identify the early warning signs.
Dr. Sheras added, "some parents are bullies as well, and must understand [that] they need to cooperate. It's not just up to schools, but parents, too."
Dr. Sheras, a nationally renowned psychologist and author, showed parents what to look out for by saying, "We need to address it in school. It's a logical place to do so. Parents are an integral part in understanding the cycle of bullying."
If the message of the presentation wasn't enough to make bullies think twice about picking the next fight, then maybe the law is. "Delegate Bell's bill does a number of really important things. It's raises awareness that bullying is everywhere, and we need to address it in school", said Dr. Sheras.
The law hits the bullies where it hurts by requiring schools to implement bullying prevention programs. Their principals also have to notify the parents of everyone involved. The attendance at the presentation shows that parents are paying attention.