NEW YORK, Oct. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- With the heighted attention surrounding the bullying epidemic that has tragically led to the suicide of many young people, including Tyler Clementi, Phoebe Prince, and most recently Jamey Rodemeyer, policy makers are finally responding, but are the solutions going too far?
In New York, a new bill is being readied that will charge perpetrators of bullying that leads to suicide with degree murder, carrying a penalty of up to nearly 15 years in prison. Tommy Walser the 23 year-old founder of The Bullying Academy (www.bullyingacademy.com) a web-based interactive program designed to help 4th-8th grade students recognize the dangers associated with bullying and cyber-bullying, agrees with the message of the proposed bill but feels that murder charges should be reserved for the most extreme of cases.
"Enforcing harsher punishments won't solve the root cause of the problem; a more proactive solution would involve mandating the inclusion of anti-bullying education in the school curriculum. While laws need to be in place to enforce consequences for those that choose to abuse others, if we hold children criminally responsible for something as egregious manslaughter, we have the duty to devote resources to educating our youth of these consequences before the situation gets to the point of suicide. It is imperative that anti-bullying efforts start in the classroom at a young age."
The Bullying Academy is a simple and free solution that does not require any additional software or extensive training for teachers. Schools simply register with the program's website and students immediately have the curriculum available to them. It provides a professionally developed curriculum and grade appropriate content to engage students through lessons, quizzes, a scavenger hunt and learning links. The program has been designed with a pre- and post-quiz so that participants can measure what was learned about bullying and its ramifications.
There are also contests for schools that participate, whereby the winning school gets a trophy, pizza party and certificate for the teacher. Any students who complete the program will also receive a diploma that ranges from gold to bronze depending on score. Students learn:
• Characteristics and risk factors common to bullies
• What bullies look for in victims
• How to recognize the short- and long-term effects of bullying on victims and bullies
• How to properly respond and report bullying
• How to avoid violence while standing up for each other
Walser, who is also a New York University law school student, says "It is important to have kids understand that bullying should not be tolerated as merely part of growing up, and that all students have the right to a safe learning environment."
To interview the Bullying Academy's founder Tommy Walser, please contact Kim Morgan at email@example.com call 954/261-2149
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