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In Indiana schools, bullying can amount to harassment

A recent published work of a Fort Wayne, Indiana author describes in detail the bullying and harassment that some students in our public schools face on a daily basis. The reasons behind the behavior of other students could seem trivial. In the author's particular circumstance, she was physically and emotionally abused because of her red hair.

Unfortunately, it's a problem that never seems to be quite taken seriously. A Republican senator from Fort Wayne proposed legislation requiring schools implement anti-bullying plans in their schools. This would have required annual reports concerning the pervasiveness of bullying incidents. This legislation never got beyond the proposal stage. Yet often the bullying and harassment can lead to deadly violence or suicide.

Still, despite the serious consequences of such behavior, many schools have been reluctant to implement policies that might help to reduce the harassment and bullying that takes place. The Fort Wayne author not only feels that this is a shortcoming of our school' systems, she feels it is incompatible with other policies that our schools implement. She mentions how many schools have a "zero tolerance" policy towards weapons and yet have no policy against bullying.

The Bishop Dwenger High School is an exception in that it has implemented a "zero tolerance" policy. In that school system, if bullying persists it is considered harassment. Similar policies have also been implemented in the Fort Wayne Community Schools as well. These schools are the exceptions, however. One of the recourses that parents and students may have to prevent the harassment and bullying from continuing is to consult with an experienced discrimination attorney to find out all of their necessary legal options. This option may be necessary in light of indifference of the schools that our children attend.

Harassment and bullying is not only confined to our high schools. It can also occur in our elementary schools and colleges as well places of employment. The bullying and harassment generally concerns sexual, gender, gender affiliation, race, ethnicity or religious belief. However, it can also concern any number of other types of unacceptable behavior as well.

Source: The Journal Gazette, "Author tackles bullying," by Jaclyn Youhana, Oct. 27, 2011

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