I support the efforts of Dakota DeRemus’ family in putting an end to bullying (2/8, A-1, “An age-old problem turns tragic; As Dakota DeRemus’ family prepares to bury him, they call for more ways to fight bullying”).
I, too, was teased nearly all day, every day by classmates in my fourth, fifth, and sixth grades. The teachers had to have seen it; one even perpetuated it by ridiculing me loudly and often during class because of my inattentiveness.
I know now that I could not attend in class because of depression, for which I am being treated.
I can still hear the taunts and feel the pain. The experience, however, has made me, as a teacher, tender and protective toward those who suffer this kind of abuse.
I believe that schools should be held accountable for the bullying that takes place on campus. Child and parent should have their report of abuse go on record with an administrator’s signature and receive a copy themselves.
The school’s efforts to resolve this problem should be recorded as well, with scheduled meetings to review progress made.
Unfortunately, none of this will be taken seriously until someone files a lawsuit that brings a law holding schools responsible.
Regarding the tragic death of Dakota DeRemus: The school district says that it is only concerned with the safety of the children, but if you ask any parent of a child who is bullied or harassed you will hear a very different side of the story.
Part of the answer is that all schools need to take responsibility for what they allow to go on. To claim that they have no responsibility because something occurred off school property, or because there were no witnesses, is an outrageous failing.
The fact is that these kids normally meet each other in school. Their relationships are formed and reinforced on school grounds, and within the school community with all sorts of witnesses through the years to their interactions.
Whether or not some act has actually occurred on school property, if there has been a history of difficulty between those children at school that has not been addressed, the school is participating in the offense.