Colo. Considers Anti-Bullying Plan
In light of the recent California school shooting, the Colorado legislature
is considering an anti-bullying plan, the Associated Press reported March 8.
Authorities have yet to determine what prompted Charles Andrew Williams to
open fire at Santana High School in Santee, Calif., killing two teens and
wounding 13 others. But information has surfaced that Williams was called a
freak by peers and teased about his looks.
Experts say schools can curb teasing and bullying by working harder to change
attitudes. As a result, many school districts are implementing anti-bullying
programs. Experts predict that effective programs could reduce incidents of
bullying and harassment by more than 50 percent.
In addition, the Colorado legislature is drafting a bill that would require
school districts throughout the state to implement some sort of anti-bullying
"It's not something you're going to do in a week," said William Porter, a
psychologist with the 42,000-student Cherry Creek School District in suburban
Denver, Colo. "It may take two or three years of major commitment to get the
kind of climate where kids feel safe."
The Colorado measure resulted from feedback state attorney general Ken
Salazar heard during post-Columbine town meetings. He said complaints about
bullying repeatedly came up during the series of meetings.
"The kids are feeling that the schools aren't doing anything about this,"
Porter said. "The kids who feel there's no one they can go to -- those are
the ones who have the most trouble. That's when you're talking about avenging
Experts say effective anti-bullying programs must include the entire school
community, with specific focus on students who are neither victims nor
bullies. In addition, a school's entire staff should be trained so victimized
students have options when they consider seeking an adult's help.
"We want every kid to have thought about two or three adults they can turn to
-- not just the school counselor," Porter said. "It could be the food-service
person, the bus driver."