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Letter: Raising a Bully Should Not Be the Answer

As parents, our hearts sank as we read of a mother’s pain, and sympathized with her plight. But it is difficult to read a letter advocating bullying as a teachable and acceptable behavior. While it’s painful to admit, bullying does go on, and sad to say, is as much a part of growing up as pimples and puberty, but to encourage bullying can’t be the answer.

In Port Washington, our schools, through the administration, building principals, teachers, guidance counselors and HSA/PTAs, are trying to educate and inform our students of the perils of bullying. At Weber Middle School, our seventh-graders saw a presentation of Odd Girl Out. This powerful movie was followed by a discussion session with the guidance counselors. Many parents told us that their children came home that day with much to talk about, many questions, and very strong impressions of what they had seen. Since many parents had questions about the movie, and expressed an interest in seeing it, the Weber HSA will be offering a full viewing of the film at our Jan. 20 meeting. This meeting will be at 8:45 a.m. in the Weber Library and all parents are welcome to attend.

Three weeks ago, our sixth-graders saw Theatre Three’s Class Dismissed: The Bullying Project. This is an original musical focusing on bullying in the classroom, cafeteria, and the rising incidents of bullying via the Internet. Parents were invited to attend this performance. A parent who attended commented that she was moved to tears when the majority of students in the auditorium raised their hands when asked if they had either been a bully or experienced bullying.

At Weber, our principal attempts to reward positive behaviors and what are called “random acts of kindness” through the Weber STARS program. Honors are given monthly. Nominees are notified during a special morning announcement, receive a certificate of recognition in their home base, and have their award displayed prominently in the school.

We know that holding assemblies and having meetings on the topic will not erase the problem or answer all the questions; however, we do believe that by addressing such behavior, with students as well as parents, we can try to shine a negative light on bullying. And through reinforcement of positive behaviors, we can only hope that we are teaching our children compassion, tolerance and kindness.

It’s never too late to raise a compassionate child – that should be our goal.

Karen Sambursky and Emily Beys

Weber Middle School HSA Co-Presidents