Because we believe that we need to be as transparent as possible, the Burlington High School administration took a risk and let the Boston Globe come in and shadow our staff as we moved forward with the state's new bullying legislation. Not only did we speak with Globe reporter Patricia Wen, we also let a Globe cameraman video a segment of one of our regular Student Support Services meetings. The article, Burlington school leaders confront bullying head-on, ran today in the Sunday Globe.
In closing, it is critical that we agree that posters (like the one above), legislation, and harsh penalties will not stop bullying. We have clear examples from similar campaigns, initiatives, and laws that have been put in place to deal with other problems in society like illegal drug use, underage drinking, seat belts, etc. Legislation and punitive measures are a reaction and while it is quite easy to fill out bullying forms and suspend students for misguided actions, somehow I can't help feeling that when we get to this point we have already failed.
The only thing that can keep our children safe is our commitment to deal with these issues constructively and to create environments where they know they are supported by caring adults.