PWEA Addresses Brentsville Viral Bullying Incident

| October 19, 2017 | 0 Comments | Education

Prince William Education Association President Riley O’Casey (front left) and other members (in blue) show support for teachers at a Prince William County School Board meeting.

By Riley O’Casey, President of the Prince William Education Association 

A video created by a student in Prince William County Schools, Oct. 5, was posted on social media, promptly going viral.

As viewers worldwide watched in utter disbelief, a full range of emotions was felt and subsequently expressed. Anger. Disappointment. Disgust. Frustration. Rage. Sadness.

Prince William County Schools’ Code of Behavior (see page 25) clearly states the division is “committed to a school environment in which students are free from discrimination and harassment by other students, employees, or third parties. The school administration will take appropriate steps to prevent discrimination and will deal promptly and decisively with reported incidents of discrimination.”

The vision of the Prince William Education Association remains “a great public education for every student in Prince William County.”

It follows that this status will not and cannot be attained and maintained when the safety, security, and well-being of our students are not a primary focus. The bullying, discrimination, or harassment of any student (whether based on color, disability, sex, gender identity, national origin, race, sex, or sexual orientation) cannot and will not be tolerated.

Any such acts committed toward a student in Prince William County Schools MUST be handled appropriately without any delay. PWEA will never stop advocating on behalf of ALL students.

It follows that this status will not and cannot be attained and maintained when the safety, security, and well-being of our students are not a primary focus. The bullying, discrimination, or harassment of any student (whether based on color, disability, sex, gender identity, national origin, race, sex, or sexual orientation) cannot and will not be tolerated.

Any such acts committed toward a student in Prince William County Schools MUST be handled appropriately without any delay. PWEA will never stop advocating on behalf of ALL students.

The Virginia Education Association, PWEA’s state affiliate, “believes that all persons should be guaranteed equal opportunity within the public education system. The Association opposes discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religious beliefs, residence, disability, physical appearance, political activities, age, marital status, family relationship, gender, or sexual orientation or gender identification, or of any other kind” (see VEA Resolutions, page 29).

In a perfect world, bullying, discrimination, and harassment would not exist. But we are not yet living in that perfect world. The challenges facing today’s children are nothing like we have previously seen.

Schools MUST be a safe space for our students. To this end, every educator involved in a student’s life can easily take seemingly small, yet highly effective steps to:

*Offer students better options and choices to solve problems

*Build communities where no one is judged

*Modeling kindness, patience, vulnerability, while demonstrating positive relationships

*Smile and laugh OFTEN

*Allow students to take risks while assuring them it’s okay to fail

The circumstances surrounding the October 5 video provide an opportunity for parents and educators to instruct their children and students regarding the proper treatment of fellow human beings. This is that sometimes elusive teachable moment, one we must all grab and hold onto tightly in order to effect positive change.

Everyone bears the responsibility to continue the ongoing division-wide effort to prevent bullying, discrimination, and harassment. We are heading in the right direction with the division’s mandatory Cultural Awareness & Responsive Training. I

t has been shown that students are less likely to participate in any form of risk-taking behavior when they know that the adults at their school care about them and are looking out for them.

Clearly, many wish to simply place blame, gloss over recent events, and move quickly on, but that’s far too easy and ultimately solves nothing. This is NOT the time to be reactive, but, it IS time to be proactive. Let’s find ways to work together to address the problem. Children, and perhaps some adults, need to be taught to treat others with respect. We can no longer afford to sit idly; there is too much at stake. The time to stand up to those who bully, discriminate, or harass is NOW!

© 2017, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

Facebook Comments
Print Friendly

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: Education

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

banner ad