Make BULLYING a criminal offense.

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I’m sure everyone by now has heard the saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. Well, my response to that is “easier said than done”.

Words can be a very dangerous thing, especially during our formative years. Coupled with violence, and daily harassment, the psychological effects may last well into our adult years.

As children, social interactions are an imperative part of our development. They help mold us into to the person we hope to one day be. They help shape our attitudes, our confidence, our self esteem, the way we dress, etc. Now imagine those interactions being negative, day after day.

Bullying has become a nationwide epidemic. It seems that raising awareness has done nothing to better the situation, because everyone’s talking about bullying, YET IT IS STILL HAPPENING EVERYWHERE.

The parents of this generation have done a good job of sweeping the issue under the rug, until a life changing event happens. It’s not until a child decides to harm themselves, or harm another - or several other children - that we decide to do something.

Guess what? Every parent that has ever lost a child as a result of bullying cannot just sweep it under the rug. They have to deal with the loss of their child. The fact that their child will never grow up, go to college, get married, have children of their own...all because another child decided it would be cool to be cruel.

Enough with the social media outrage! It’s time we take a step in the right direction for the safety of our children, our future.

I propose all lawmakers to draft a bill that will make bullying a criminal offense. Children found guilty of bullying should be required to take a 12 month course with a court appointed therapist in order to remain in school - with their parents in attendance. More severe punishments should be handed to repeat offenders.

It is time parents are held accountable for the actions of their children, as their behavior is a reflection of what they learn at home.

Hate is a learned behavior. Cruelty is a learned behavior. Let’s take a step in the right direction to teach our children to do better, and create learning environments that nurture, not destroy.