Bullying laws

I’ve been getting many emails about the proposed anti-bullying law at the State Legislature. I don’t know its contents. If it passes I will have to get familiar with them. One thing I believe. It is near impossible to legislate what people think and only practical to legislate how they act.

To that end of curbing bullying I found this recommendation which makes a lot of sense to me:

Faris and Felmlee come out with one clear proposal for schools: Bullying-prevention programs should try to de-emphasize hierarchy. The more that students feel there are multiple routes to social success, the choir as well as sports, chess champion as well as class president, the better. That sounds right to me, but also hard for adults to construct. Teenagers have to have their own ways of taking each other’s measure separate from adult wishes and meddling. That’s part of growing up. The trick is for them to lead each other to social rewards that come from building other people up rather than tearing them down. This study is an important reminder that all kinds of kids benefit from making that shift, from all points in the high school universe.

The “it gets better” series often makes a similar point, to wit: once you escape the suffocation of high school and get into the larger world, often college, the social hen pecking of high school stops being such an all consuming tyranny. Maybe we should make high schools like college. Send kids off in more directions in their schools instead of create a pyramiding activities that are supported institutionally on the basis of their popularity.

Sadly, the Duluth Public Schools are so strapped that creating alternative venues outside of class will require outside help to fund and organize. Heck, Our once storied music program which provided so many kids such an alternative have been nibbled back like a rose garden after goats get past the gate.

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