Monday, January 05, 2009

Wisconsin's Proposed Law

Good news. Wisconsin is proposing an anti bullying law in 2009.

I’ve reviewed the proposed Wisconsin law and as it stands, I would give it a B+. Using www.BullyPolice.org/grade.html as my grading guide...

1) The word "bullying" is used in the text of the bill/law/statutes.

2) The law is clearly an anti bullying law, not a school safety law.

3) There is a requirement for definitions of bullying and harassment.

4) There are recommendations on how to make policy and what needs to be in the model policy.

½ point for number 5) A good law involves education specialists at all levels, starting with the State Superintendent's (Education) office.... but the law only goes this far and doesn't require buy-in with School Districts, Schools, Parents and Students.

6) This law mandates anti bullying programs

7) There is a date the model policy is due, when the schools need to have their policies in place. My only thought here is why the date is March 1, 2010 (and August 15, 2010 for School Boards). Is the Wisconsin State Dept of Ed notoriously slow at getting things done?

8) There is a requirement for protection against reprisal, retaliation or false accusation.

MISSING - 9) There must be school district protection against lawsuits upon compliance to policies.

MISSING - 10) A top rated law will put the emphasis on the victims of bullying by assigning counseling for victims who suffer for years after peer abuse.

½ point for number 11) This law does require mandatory posting and/or notification of policies and reporting procedures for students and parents.

MISSING - 12) Cyberbullying or "Electronic Harassment" law.

5 comments:

sam said...

Schools and states can continue to pass all the anti-bully laws they want but unless or until school administrators are made accountable for enforcing their current discipline policies and accurately reporting bullying incidences to state and federal levels, these laws and anti-bully policies are nothing more than words on paper.

The words will merely be used against schools/districts in lawsuits taxpayers will ultimately pay out.

Any one in the public believing anti-bully policies effectively reduce bullying isn't paying attention to what kids across America are and have been trying to tell you.

Not what all the surveys conducted by outside agencies and supposed guru's tell you. These for one are being paid by the same administration that IS THE PROBLEM. Aside from paying for them, when the admin is involved in the survey process in as far as approving the questions or content asked etc., you already have a skewed report. And if they are not paying for them they still get to approve the questionnaire!

If Bully Police can provide any bullying survey they have ever read or conducted where students were ever asked if the administration was a part of the problem, please post it here as I would welcome reviewing same. Questions aimed at failing administrators who don't enforce their OWN school discipline policies don't seem to get asked nearly enough if at all.

Administrators use Anti-Bully policies, programs and strategies to put the onus on kids to fix their own problems. Where these strategies focus on empowering kids to stand up to bullies in defending each other against same.
That in itself is not a bad thing but it wreaks of hypocrisy when kids DO their part only to watch the admin NOT follow through and do THEIR part!

WOW what a great concept to circumvent an administrators culpability by empowering kids to do the jobs THEY fail to do!

Kids KNOW the admin fails them and they are NOT fooled by Anti-Bully initiatives. Where they have trusted in their school officials to reach out and help them all kids got thrown back at them is: "here kids are some anti-bully strategies that teach YOU how to stand up to a bully but sorry we don't care to do same."

And these are America's top level educators?

Brenda said...

Sam,
Below is a survey that might interest you. I have over 2,000 submitted surveys in my files.

Notice that I don't let "teacher-bullies" off the hook either.


Below is the result of your feedback form...
School Attend?: S. Elementary
State: Missouri
Age(s): 9
Male or Female:
Girl/bullied by girl?: Yes
Girl/bullied by boy?: Yes
Boy/bullied by girl:
Boy/bullied by boy:
Student/bullied by teacher?: No
Currently bullied/harassed?: No
Physical Bullying?: No
Sexual Bullying?: No
Religious beliefs?: No
Race?: No, No
Emotional/Verbal Bullying?: No
Other: retaliation tactics by principal
Child is depressed?: No
Thoughts of Suicide?: No
Disruptive/violent?: No
Talked with teacher or administrator?: Yes
Teacher or administrator helped?: No
Pressed charges?: No
Talked to counselor?: No
Anti Bullying Laws?: No
Email:
Name: D
Comments:

I agree with you on almost all points. My reason for pushing for anti bullying laws is that laws are "foundations" that help schools understand the rules they need to function properly, kind of like having a good road to drive on with good road laws to follow. Not everyone will have the best road (anti bullying law) and not everyone will obey the rules of the road (the anti bullying policies created by the law).
After the system/foundation is in place it's up to the adults to make sure the law is obeyed.

The biggest problem with most anti bullying laws is that they don't require accountability and proper reporting. ...We have a lot more work to do and I don't expect our job, watching out for our kids, will ever be done.

You might be interested in reading the article, "Bullying, an Adult Problem" which can be found, I think, on www.bullypolice.org.

OS said...

Sam,

I agree that we must hold the administration accountable, but presently and in the new legislation there is no oversight regarding the school boards. The school boards know there is no oversight, and no accountability. It becomes a money game, with little to no consideration for the safety of the student.

Presently, the school boards have the final say on whether a child is expelled. If the school board expels 1% of it's students, the school is considered a dangerous school.

I believe Elmbrook Schools is a prime example.


I believe Elmbrook Schools and their administration failed to protect children, enforce their policies, and follow state and federal laws and guidelines to protect children from being physically and emotionally bullied. 3 boys at Pilgrim Park Middle School in Elm Grove WI, were abusing a 13 year old girl for about 6 months. It started with teasing, then hitting, then beating. They held her against her will so she was late to class, punched her on 30 plus occasions, and every time The Victim reported it, the school would bring The Victim and the perpetrator into a room to confront the issue. Then the boys would beat her even worse.

It culminated on the last day of school (June 13, 08), where in 4 separate incidents, the 13 year old female victim was beaten and abused . The 3 boys beat her on the playground during school with 3 foot tree branches (twice). She was thrown into a mud puddle, kicked, stomped, and one boy stated he "tore up her legs". The school sent her home on the bus. Her parents discovered over 25 welts and cuts on her body, the longest was 12 inches long across her back.

The Victim’s Father took her back to the school and showed them the wounds, but the vice principal told him she was advised by administration that "we" will not call the police, and we will handle it internally. The father called the police, who arrived at the school, took the report and pictures, along with The Victim's statements and a list of 12+ witnesses. It was discovered at the interview with police that one perpetrator was found with a knife and the police were in the process of finalizing the incident report to the D.A.’s office. It was also revealed said boy just completed a 5 day suspension 2 days prior to him beating the victim with the tree branches.

The police insisted on having an ambulance called, but the Father and Victim signed an A.M.A. waiver. The Victim’s Father took her to Children's hospital. It was there that the doctors and social workers discovered she was beaten with 1/2 inch metal track spikes, and had over 50 scars on her legs and arms from these boys beating her a few weeks prior to this incident. They threatened to kill her if she told, and knocked her out in the hallway the week prior.

The school covered everything up and refused to communicate with the Victim’s Family, except for the principal. The Principal informed the family 10 days after the June 13 incident, he was advised by Elmbrook Administration not to investigate until he received perpetrator’s statements from the police. After the Victim’s Father explained to him it is against the law for police to release juvenile statements, he immediately began the investigation, and presented his Report and Recommendation of expulsion to 2 members of the Elmbrook School Board. It was found that the Elmbrook School district did not contact the Police regarding any information on the criminal investigation until 6 months after the incident was reported.


The boys were arrested within a week of the police being informed by the Victim’s Father. All 3 boys have been found delinquent and incarcerated.

The district not only would not expel the boys immediately, they listed one of them in the Victim’s homeroom (house ) and class list at registration day in August. ( This is the boy who emailed her, stating "U got me in trouble" and if she didn't respond to his email "your mom will die at 3 am”. He was the one who brought a knife to school, was suspended for 5 days, then 2 days after serving his detention, beat The Victim and stated "I tore up her legs". ) Also, there were restraining orders against all 3 boys, for 4 years, and not just for The Victim, but the entire family.

There are no laws for oversight on school districts regarding these types of events. The district refused to protect The Victim, and refused to discuss anything regarding this. They failed to determine whether these events rose to the level of a violent criminal offence, which per NCLBA they MUST do within 10 working days. DPI has no authority, and later reprimanded the district for this failure by sending them a “reminder” they must determine this within 10 days in the future. The family was forced to move on labor day weekend when the chatter of these kids friends threatened The Victim and The Victim’s Brother's safety, and the district refused to do anything. I have been speaking to our legislators in Madison, who have resurrected the anti bullying bill that needs to be made into law to protect victims, and hold school districts accountable.

When the parent and victim went to Pilgrim Park Middle School Just prior to Labor Day, a secretary informed them she heard the boys would not be back. This was the first time the family was informed of the perpetrator’s status. When the victim’s special needs teacher was asked what she knew about the issues, she stated she was told there was a mud fight and the victim was thrown into a bush. When she saw the scars and told what had happened with the track spikes, tears were flowing down her cheeks, as the Vice Principal stared in silence.

I believe that this has to do with money. The district cannot expel more than 8 children for violent activity in a 3 year period without being flagged as a "dangerous school" by the Federal government.

Also, these 3 boys attended The Victim's school under the 220 program. This allows inner city minority children to attend suburban schools. The district receives appx $10,000 per student, and have 371 students in the program. (That's about $3.7 million a year, and about $75 million over 20 years).

The Brookfield and Elm Grove Parents would not take well to a resident child being beaten by individuals bussed in, and there would be an uproar. We believe the boys would not have escalated the behavior if the administration, councilors and teachers would have addressed the issues properly in the earlier stages of the continuum. They were notified of physical abuse months prior to the last day of school.

Elmbrook Schools are "20 years behind the average Wisconsin School" , who told that very statement to the Superintendent 4 weeks prior to us discovering the egregious abuse The Victim endured. Per the 19 point bullying continuum, the victim experienced 18 of the 19, the 19th being shot with a gun.

Encourage your state Assemblyperson and Senator to pass the Antibullying law, and make sure it provides oversight, victim rights and protection, safe haven schools to victims, and punishment to any district, including board members, administration and teachers that do not make the child the priority.

Christena said...

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Centennial College said...

Well,

That sounds pretty good for students & students feel safe also.

Great information

:)

Student of Police Foundations