There has been something of a hullaballoo recently about a purported bullying outbreak at Fairmont Area Schools. A?Twin Cities television station even got involved. We'd like to suggest that everyone in town take a deep breath and relax. While bullying certainly exists and cyberbullying (bullying on the Internet) is a growing problem, the concept of bullying is not new and the school takes the problem seriously.
Some parents may feel their children have been unfairly victimized, and they may hold some resentment toward the school district. We understand. But local teachers and administrators are not looking the other way. The school has specific policies against bullying and cyberbullying, and it works to teach children respect for everyone. It responds to reports of bullying and punishes offenders. Bullying that is severe enough is turned over to police.
When it comes to online bullying, the world of Facebook can be an absolutely vicious place. Fairmont Area Superintendent Joe Brown uses this bit of hyperbole: "Facebook is going to destroy this country." We couldn't agree more with his sentiment. Critics once described television as a "vast wasteland." Facebook is a nuclear winter.
Parents need to monitor their children's Facebook pages and talk to them about being respectful to others. In the end, though, no parent or school official can control what a student says, writes or does. So those students must face consequences for actions that terrorize or physically harm others.