Yesterday in USA Today, there was an excellent article about school bullying laws and the little protection they offer. The article discusses the case of Jaheem Jaheem, who at 11 committed suicide at home. The issue of the laws and punishments offer came up clearly in this case. The article says:
Forty-four states expressly ban bullying, a legislative legacy of a rash of school shootings in the late ’90s, yet few if any of those measures have identified children who excessively pick on their peers, an Associated Press review has found. And few offer any method for ensuring the policies are enforced, according to data compiled by the National Council of State Legislatures.
The issue came to a head in April when Jaheem Jaheem, 11, committed suicide at his Atlanta-area home after his parents say he was repeatedly tormented in school. District officials denied it, and an independent review found bullying wasn’t a factor, a conclusion his family rejects.
Regardless, Georgia’s law, among the toughest in the nation, still would not have applied: It only applies to students in grades six to 12. Jaheem was a fifth-grader…
Only six states — Montana, Hawaii, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, North Dakota and South Dakota — and the District of Columbia lack specific laws targeting school bullying, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most states require school districts to adopt open-ended policies to prohibit bullying and harassment.
You can read the rest of the article in USA Today by clicking here. It is still disturbing that the laws are not protecting the children as they should. It’s a good article and should hopefully be a case to start more focused conversations on improving the laws.