Schools Should Enforce Stricter Bullying Policies


Many times, small and passive aggressive bullying are disregarded by the school board, which creates an unsafe environment for many students.

Lancy Shi, Photojournalist

It is a known fact that schools are a place for students to get an education and prepare for the future. Another important thing, in my opinion, is for schools to provide a safe environment for the students to learn, not just physically but in all other aspects as well.. For example, students should be able to feel comfortable being openly gay at school, and they should be able to feel accepted for their culture. I’m sure most school administrations, including YLHS, would agree with this; however, I still feel that a lot of schools are not doing enough to protect their students.

Firstly, schools need to consider the bullying and harassment taking place on their campus. Even though most schools take bullying seriously, I still do not  think many consider the less seen side of bullying. For example, a bully might not openly harass another student, but they can do it quietly without making a scene. They can make a good impression on the teachers and most of the students and get away with their rude behavior. This type of bullying is often disregarded, but it does create a toxic environment and makes a lot of students feel unsafe. Emma Safari (10) who has had experiences with homophobia and sexism, says, “ever since I came out, people have started being more passive aggressive towards me, and I’ve had people on social media send me messages that are quite rude and aggressive.” Even though these remarks made Emma feel terrible, the school did not do much because the comments were mostly passive. 

Another problem I have with the way schools handle bullying is that they almost never suspend or expel bullies until they physically hurt someone. At my old school, my friend was constantly getting xenophobic remarks from her classmates, but all the administration did was have a meeting with the bully. He continued to bully her, and he didn’t receive any real consequences because of the fact that he didn’t hurt her physically. These kinds of “meetings” never really do anything, and I believe that it is way better to just suspend or expel the student. If a school truly cares about the well-being of their students, they should give harsher punishments to bullies. This is the only way they will learn their lesson.

Obviously, I am extremely biased in this situation, as I am a student who has little exposure to how schools are run. Even though I feel that schools are not doing enough to help, doesn’t mean that they aren’t at least trying. There is actually a form that students can fill out and to report any bullying or harassment. Under the “bullying/safe school reporting” tab in the official YLHS website, it is stated that the school would like “any student who is aware of this type of behavior to immediately report it to the counseling office”. More specifically, the PYLUSD board policy states that “students who engage in unlawful discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, intimidation, retaliation, or bullying, in violation of law, Board policy, or administrative regulation shall be subject to appropriate consequence or discipline, which may include suspension or expulsion.” It is great that students are able to report inappropriate behavior very easily, as the website states the instructions very clearly; however, there are still many things to consider when it comes to a bullying accusation. These simple rules listed on websites and offices do not cover the consequences for specific actions, and they also do not cover the steps the school takes to actually get to suspend a student. Also, if the only consequences are suspension and expulsion, then it would not be realistic. For example, a student can say slightly mean things to another student. This isn’t a huge bullying scandal, but the damage is still done, yet in cases like this, the student does not face either of the two consequences listed. If there are harsher and stricter rules, then the environment would be at least safer than it was before. 

I want to make it clear that I am not saying that schools don’t care about their students, I just wish the policies were stricter and more attention was put on the wellbeing of students. I know that the YLHS staff members truly care about us, and managing a huge school is not an easy job. Because of that, I am open to hearing from people who have a different opinion about this situation. Hopefully, we can all come to an agreement that will make everyone feel safe and loved in this learning environment.