In a recent letter to the editor (excerpt below), YMCA Youth Programs Director, Ruth Sazama, expressed a concern that is shared among many adults who work with kids today. The answer to, “What is bullying?” varies depending on what state you are in and the laws governing the response to reported bullying incidents. Although the Department of Education has taken steps to create a common definition of what constitutes bullying, individual states are left to legislate and subsequently fund their bullying prevention and bully reporting programs. The result, a mixed bag of intervention programs attempting to identify and respond to the continually evolving problem of bullying. States live New York, California and New Jersey passed recent legislation that provides further clarity on the actions that constitute bullying and the mandated response to these incidents.
EDITOR: Recently the whole country heard about the school bus monitor, Karen Klein, who was physically and verbally abused by a few middle school students. Their behavior and comments were so cruel that America was horrified.
One article from Good Morning America stated, “Klein has worked at the school district for 20 years, mostly as a bus driver. She said this verbal attack was not the first time she had been taunted.”
I have been presenting the YWCA anti-bullying program, “Bullying is Never Cool,” for eight years in Marathon County. This problem is very widespread in all communities. My question about this story is: How much training did Klein get in strategies to combat bullying?