Tuesday, October 9, 2012


The beatings of handicapped girl in Mount Pearl and the assault of a 13-year-old girl in Blaketown on Friday has focused attention on the issue of bullying by teens at the high school level.

The Province’s Department of Education has been spending a great deal of effort trying to curb the problem. Safe and Caring School, anti-bullying and awareness programs have become an integral components of the education. Yet, here we are discussing more violence committed by and against teens.

At these years annual general meeting of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of School Councils bullying and drug use in schools was front and center. Education Minister Clyde Jackman delivered a key-note speech on the issues. He discussed the province’s Safe & Caring Schools initiative which has been proactive in developing programs and resources aimed at early intervention and education on violence prevention.

He did caution the gathering that school administrators cannot address the issue alone.  He encouraged school councils and parents to become committed to making schools safe for everyone.
Which gets me to my observation? What is the role and responsibility of parents in shaping the ethics of their off-spring? As a society we can not simply off-load the responsibility of teaching our children right from wrong on teachers.

The mother of the child that was beaten in a ditch on Friday alleges that the bullying issue regarding her daughter has been on-going for years. She says that she has been forced to get restraining orders against some children from the school in the past. This appears, on the surface, to be much larger than a random act of violence? Did the system let this girl down? What about the parents of the accused, where they aware of the taunting and teasing? If so, why was it not put to an end earlier?

Just to make a very bad situation worse, a number of kids videotaped the beating on their smart phones. A good laugh for latter I guess. What kind of society have we become when we document the beating for entertainment rather than assist the person getting beaten?

I agree with Minister Jackman, parents have an incredible responsibility for what their children do, who the become and how they behave as well. It gets me back to this concept of personal responsibility that I into a few weeks ago about NAPE. Why do some people think they are not responsible for their actions?  There are no real punishments for being late with assignments or cheating? Have we gone so soft that personal success, pride in accomplishments, right and wrong are no longer applicable?

Why is it that many schools in this province find it hard to put a full school council together?  We need stronger councils. more parent involvement - we need to shift the culture back to one of personal  responsibility.

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