Bullying does not discriminate against age, race, gender, or location. It can happen anywhere, to anyone—and Virginia schools are no exception. Despite state laws and school policies designed to prevent bullying, incidents continue to occur with disturbing regularity. Here are four real stories of bullying in Virginia that received media attention:
- Warren, Virginia. In October 2019, parents, teachers, and students in Warren County came together to hold a formal anti-bullying protest. A mother reported that she helped organize the protest because her son was bullied at school—mentioning that he would come home with unexplained bruises. The protesters were frustrated at the ineffectiveness of the school system’s response to the problem. They called for an end of secrecy and demanded accountability.
- Triangle, Virginia. In May 2019, four teens were charged with assault by mob after attacking a girl walking home from school. Two of the bullies were also charged with strong-armed robbery and another was charged with strangulation.
- Caroline, Virginia. In November 2017, a mother in Caroline County reported that she put her home up for sale to remove her daughter from the county’s school system due to uncontrolled bullying. The mother felt that the school system failed her daughter by allowing the bully to remain in her classes despite reported incidents of physical bullying. She genuinely felt that her daughter would not be safe if they remained in the county.
- Manassas, Virginia. In March 2011, a student in Manassas was accused of cyberbullying and, as a result, was charged with harassment by computer. Not only was the student expelled, but her charge also carried a possible sentence of one year in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
A few common threads in these unfortunate stories: (i) bullying can have severe physical, mental, and social effects on the victims and their families; (ii) bullying can occur anywhere, anytime; (iii) bullying often won’t stop until someone (e.g., a bystander, a school official, etc.) intervenes; and (iv) unfortunately, in some cases, schools are simply ill-equipped to effectively prevent bullying from taking place. It is hopefully not a controversial statement to suggest that there should be a zero-tolerance policy for bullying in any setting—at school, the workplace, or at home. If you or a family member is the victim of bullying, don’t hesitate to stand up for what’s right and address the situation in a legal and responsible manner.
For families dealing with school-related bullying, Perkins Law offers a flat fee service package to help resolve such situations through proactive communication, advocacy, and navigation of school processes and procedures and other steps as applicable. Contact us to discuss your situation at 804.205.5162 or [email protected]
1 https://www.nvdaily.com/nvdaily/parents-protest-bullying-at-middle-school/article_427cc7af-dcfe-579b-8d59-e842315faeb0.html 2 https://www.whsv.com/content/news/4-teens-charged-in-attack-on-Virginia-middle-school-student-510174801.html 3 https://www.wreg.com/news/were-moving-caroline-mom-selling-home-after-repeated-bullying-of-teen-daughter/ 4 https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/student-charged-in-facebook-cyber-bullying-case/1913929/
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