Gwinnett School Board Concerned About Bullying
Highly publicized instances elsewhere prompt statement from superintendent
Supt. Alvin Wilbanks, speaking at a school board work session Jan. 20, told the board that concern about bullying, including so-called cyberbullying, is on his mind.
"Our people are looking at it," Wilbanks said. "We have been trying to review all our actions.
"My concern is that no one has the right to bully (another student). That's the posture we take. There are a lot of subtle ways it can be done."
Gwinnett is the largest school system in Georgia with some 160,000 students; that figure accounts for about 20 percent of Gwinnett's total population.
Wilbanks said that some 160,000 U.S. students a day stay home because of bullying, and that there reportedly 14 student suicides were attributed to bullying in the past year. "We want to make sure" that Gwinnett students are safe from such actions."
He said Gwinnett has had "two or three" cases of so-called cyberbullying on Facebook, mostly "kids being foolish."
Board members shared the concern and had varying responses.
"Cyberbullies are not sure that they are bullying," Louise Radloff said.
"What worries me," said Dr. Robert McClure, who was elected board chairman later in the day, "is that in dealing with the problem, young people never have to learn to deal with another human being."