Guest Blogger: Kathleen Keelan, Prevention Consultants, LLC
I have a hard time telling the parents of a cyber-bullied student that their school “has a policy.” I have a hard time explaining to a child that even though they feel like their whole existence is being shattered every day, all day and all night, that their school district really does care about them. It’s hard to explain to a cyber-bullied student and their parents that the school truly cares that they feel safe.
This I know for sure: the policy is only as good as the people who enforce it.
School officials are scrambling right now due to the “epidemic” of suicides from cyber bullying. Law enforcement is scrambling right now to define their role in this growing phenomenon. The National Crime Prevention Council is happy that physical bullying amongst children has declined. However, the rate of cyber bullying is increasing at an alarming rate. Right now the NCPS found that among teenagers, more than 43% are victims of cyber bullying.
Do you think that 50% of the kids care about a national law against cyber bullying? I stood in front of a group of parents last night and tried to explain to them that although there is no program to teach about cyber bullying prevention in their school, there is a policy. This I know for sure: the policy is only as good as the people who enforce it. As one mom of a teen who was ruthlessly cyber bullied screamed at the top of her lungs at a school board meeting, “Don’t wave that cyber bullying policy in my face and tell me that is what you are doing to help my son.”
Ellen DeGeneres tearfully proclaimed on her now famous video October 3, 2010 that “Things will get better, and you should be alive to see it.” We have got to stop hiding behind policies and help assure kids we care that they are alive to see the policies actually help those who are being cyber bullied.
Sileo: Kathleen Keelan is a dear friend of mine and an expert in this subject matter. Kathleen’s point that policy does not automatically guarantee action and even more importantly, that policy is never a replacement for action is one that I deal with every day in the corporate world. Having a policy isn’t good enough. You have to build a culture around that policy that weaves a belief system of action into the very fabric of the organization. Whether we are trying to protect data, our employees or our children, a policy without follow through is but an empty set of words. If you need help with cyber bullying in your school, please contact her on 303-521-5427 or learn more about Prevention Consultants, LLC at their website.