Many schools boast of programs to teach tolerance and character education, starting as early as kindergarten. Parents and educators agree that taunting and beatings persist because of factors inside and outside of the classroom. Newsday reports. The rash of recent bullying incidents, including a video featuring three girls from a Long Island school accused of attacking another girl, has put a spotlight on adolescent and pre-adolescent meanness.
Newsday interviewed a family whose teenage son was bullied to shed light on the phenomenon. “Maybe the parents of a bully will see how hard it is to be bullied,” said the victim’s mother. Not long ago, many adults dismissed bullying by saying “boys will be boys.” The 1999 shootings at Colorado’s Columbine High School and other campuses since have shown that it can have deadly consequences. Parents are worried partly because technology has made bullying more instantaneous. Now, thanks to the Internet, kids can e-mail spiteful rumors to scores of classmates, or even post humiliating photos or videos online. “When you take the face away from the victim, and the perpetrator no longer has to look him in the eye, it becomes more vicious,” said an elementary school principal. Technology also allows bullying to take place in the privacy of a student’s home. Siris estimates that half of Oceanside’s fifth- and sixth-graders have computers in their bedrooms.