I think that as a collective, we can all agree that bullying has gotten out of hand in school. Perhaps it's because everything today is so deeply rooted in what's happening online, giving kids more of an opportunity to bully someone, and then it's carrying over into school each day. No matter what the root cause, there is more of it, every day and everywhere. More and more children are reporting it and it seems like every day we are hearing another tragic story in the news about how this emotional abuse is impacting kids everywhere. One family is fighting for all families in these situations and working hard to pass a law that would require the school to inform parents directly of any bullying involving their children.
After relentless bullying in school, Jacobe, a 13-year-old boy from New York, took his own life. This devastating event has lead to his family to take action because they were never informed by the school that there was even a situation occurring. “He was being punched, kicked, pushed,” said Jacobe’s father Richard Taras. “Being called gay, being told to kill himself every day.”
It wasn't until they found his suicide note that they became confident that the school has known how their son was being treated day after day, yet never informed them. Though there was a pattern of physical contact, the school wrote it off as boys being boys.
While there are rules in place in New York and many other states, where schools must legally report bullying to the state education department, but not to the bullied child’s parents.
State Senator James Tedisco, has even weighed in that he would probably still be alive if the parents had been given proper notification from the school. Because of this, he will be helping the parents to sponsor the new legislation they are proposing called Jacobe’s Law.
What's happening right now is that it has been passed twice in the New York Senate but is stuck in the state assembly. It's so important that this is passed because putting this law into place would mean that other means of dealing with bullying can’t be dismissed out of hand. If a child is bullied for something like their sexual orientation or gender presentation at school, some schools fear that telling their parents could worsen the child’s home life. While that’s a valid concern, the fact that kids need to feel safe while in school should overpower that.