By Dana Goldman, Commissioner
(December 28, 2020) – Many of you have seen the video circulating on social media which shows in a graphic manner a student physically bullying another in the hallway of a nearby middle school. It’s a shocking display of cruelty and meanness of spirit. While it occurred in another municipality, the victim is actually a resident of our city and it strikes home. We’ve seen many “fight” videos in recent past, but this is one we cannot ignore or sweep under the rug.
Bullying is an abuse and mistreatment of someone vulnerable by someone stronger and more powerful. It can take place in bathrooms, at parks, playgrounds, hallways, and on the school bus. Bullying can take many forms in addition to physical violence: harassment, threats, name calling, insults, teasing, intimidation, homophobic or racist remarks, spreading rumors, playing jokes, mimicking behavior, hurtful texts, emails, or posts. Although typically associated with school-age children, bullying can occur at any age, in the workplace, your condominium association or on your smartphone. It’s widespread, often goes undetected and unreported, and can have serious long-term consequences for its victims, including isolation, withdrawal, anxiety and depression. To fully address the scope of this problem, it starts with our awareness.
Recently elected School Board Member Lucia Baez Geller has stated “there is no place for violence or bullying in our schools.” I welcome her fresh perspective.