By Alexandra Griffin, Editor-in-Chief
A proposal reached the Florida Senate on Jan. 23 which would use taxpayer money to provide bullied students with school vouchers so they can attend private school. Doing so will not only compound the bullying problem, but will be costly to the state budget, a budget that already under-funds public schools.
While bullying is terrible and I hope that nobody ever has to go through being bullied or feels like they need to be a bully, if you are involved, it’s not a problem from which you can just run away as the legislature proposes. Confronting bullies and pushing through the experience promotes the problem solving and collaboration techniques that life in college and the workforce demand.
The bill teaches students who are bullied that they do not have to live in an environment that is hostile or unfriendly when the legislators making the bill know first hand that people can be cut-throat and unkind. An elected official cannot just resign from office after he loses an important debate or is called out by an opposing party member, so why propose we train the next generation to do so?
Letting victims of bullying run away from their bully/bullies also makes the perpetrator(s) more likely to target another student. If culprits are never chastised or never realize that their actions are wrong, how are they supposed to fix them?
Additionally, by approving the bill the state government would be throwing its support at private schools that do not pay their teachers as much, do not have a better education than public schools and do not necessarily have a better solution to bullies than public schools have. In fact, out of the top 10 schools in the state only a third of them are private according to the U.S. News and World Report.
The solution is easy: allocate those funds from the school vouchers to programs that help to make students’ voices heard. There is no way to fully outlaw bullying without taking away freedom of speech, but students will feel better if they have someone to talk to and someone to help them solve the problem in a safe and healthy manner.
Posted: Jan. 30