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School Responsibility for Teasing and Bullying?

I don’t know if you are aware of it, but there are many parents and child advocacy groups in this country who are fighting to have schools become legally responsible for the teasing and bullying that goes on between students.

It may sound like a good idea. These people believe that if the schools are held legally responsible for teasing and bullying, then teasing and bullying will surely end. Or, at least, they will be able to sue the school and get a lot of money. What can be wrong with that?

I recently had a couple of hundred parents fill out a survey about the aggression that their children experience at home and in school. It confirmed what I have long known and should be obvious to anyone who bothers to think about it: there is far more aggression between children at home than there is in school. Almost all parents reported several fights a week between their children at home, while the vast majority reported that their children never have fights in school. Considering that fights at home also last longer than fights in school (which are usually over in a matter of seconds), it is obvious that there is more fighting going on between two kids in the average home than there is in a whole classroom of 30 kids. In fact, there are homes where there is more fighting going on than in the whole school put together! There are families in which the children fight literally 2 or 3 solid hours a day. That is way, way more than the combined fighting of all the students in a large school!

Parents work hard to stop their kids from fighting. If parents can’t stop kids’ fighting at home, where there is close to one adult for each child, why in the world do they think fighting can be eradicated in school, where there is only about one adult to every ten children?!

And what do these parents think the next step will be? If legislation is actually passed holding schools responsible for the conflicts between students, how long will it be before parents are held legally responsible for the fighting between their children at home?

To everything there is a silver lining. If parents are eventually held legally responsible for the fighting between their kids, the unemployment problem will be ended forever. Imagine how many jobs will be created to fill the need of investigating and prosecuting parents for “allowing” fighting between children at home!

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