School Life
The Voice

Fed Care About Testing, What About Protecting? (Opinion)

Lauren Wright '19
After former President George W. Bush enacted the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, communities and parents were given hope that all children in America would recieve equal opportunities for quality education. This act put in place standards that involved testing and curriculum requirements which exemplified the federal government’s emphasis on educating the youth of America. But what about protecting the youth of America?
The federal government seems to care more about the tests scores being received than creating a safe environment that is conducive for learning. Standardized testing policy is more important than creating policy that would protect children from bullying in the one place they should always feel safe - school.

Currently, all 50 states have policies that not only define what bullying is but also provide instructions for schools on how to deal with bullying within its own walls. The problem is that these programs are not federally funded nor mandated. According to Amanda Oglesby from USA Today, school districts all over the country spend millions of dollars annually in order to train and implement anti-bullying policies. Without government funding, the quality of these programs is not equal across the board.

But even with these discrepancies, according to the Department of Education, since 2015, the amount of reports and investigations into bullying have decreased 22%. Many parents and students feel that these programs help to educate children about the dangers of bullying and also help to educate school officials and teachers on how to better deal with incidents of bullying.
Some detractors of anti-bullying policy state that kids need to experience some type of teasing when they are younger in order to prepare them for their future. Some people think that a little teasing helps a child develop a tough skin. But what these critics forget is that the psychological consequences of bullying far outweigh any potential positives. Although kids could develop ‘thicker skins’, they could also develop depression and anxiety.

Research conducted by Missouri University also suggests that in schools where anti-bullying policy are in place, the number of incidents actually increase and that these prevention measures may provide bullies with examples of bad actions that they would then imitate or they may just choose to ignore it because it makes them feel uncomfortable. But this research states in its conclusion that one possible reason for their findings would be that the flaw is not in the policies themselves but in lack of a national standard of implementation. And for the few kids that would ignore presentations about anti-bullying, these types of programs have proven to empower victims of bullying and do prove effective on most children.

Some parents are also skeptical of allowing their children to be treated like criminals and some also feel that states, with their varying values and populations, should be able to create and implement their own unique set of laws. For those who do not want their child treated like a criminal, they must emphasize the negative effects of bullying in their homes and reinforce the idea that being a bully has consequences.

Notre Dame High School

Located on 100 beautiful acres in Central New Jersey, Notre Dame High School, founded in 1957, is a college preparatory school for grades 9 - 12, preparing young men and women for lives of purpose, built upon a foundation of Catholic faith, with a commitment to academics, co-curricular activities and service to others.