As reporters and local media members, a big part of our job is to study trends and subtle changes to our community.
So in our editorial today, we wanted to take on a subject that we’ve been hearing a lot more about in recent years: bullying.
At The Times, we hold office hours, but are never truly 100 percent closed for business. Our editorial team is comprised 100 percent of people who people who were born and bred in the Houma-Thibodaux area. We may not always be on the clock, but we are always out in the community listening to the concerns of people like us. We also closely monitor commentary on all of our social media platforms — literally reading every, single message and every, single comment we receive on anything we post.
And in our work in the past several years, bullying is a topic that parents and students have said is becoming a growing problem in the area.
In this week’s piece by Colin Campo regarding the merger of two schools in Terrebonne Parish, the concerns were raised again by parents who were opposed to the move citing that they were fearful that their child would be bullied by other children once the move is made.
The purpose of this editorial is not to poke holes in the bullying policy of the Lafourche, nor Terrebonne Parish School Systems.
By and large, we believe both school districts have been relatively pro-active in trying to curb the problem. In our story on Page A1, Terrebonne Schools Superintendent Philip Martin detailed the parish’s plan to handle bullying concerns, namely having full-time counselors on staff to give students a voice to fight back.
But we believe that bullying and aggression toward others is not a natural instinct in a child. We believe (as do scientists) that bully-like tendencies are learned behaviors — either by things a child sees happen at home or by things a child consumes through visual mediums (TV, YouTube, video games, etc.)
So knowing that, we’d like to issue the challenge today to all parents (or even those who are not biological parents, but who are raising children) to do a little more to show love and care to their young ones in hopes that they will pay that love forward onto others.
The systems and channels in place in our school system are wonderful, but children are only in school 9 months out of the year and for 8 hours per day. That means that for every two-thirds of a given day, a child is at home in the presence of family.
So it has to be a team effort between the home and the schools to help limit this issue as best we can.
Do more things with your children to show them that they are loved.
Encourage them to pursue hobbies, sports or other things to stay active. Those activities teach life lessons, build confidence and also communication skills. All of those go a long way in teaching young people how to treat others with love and respect.
Take your child places. Let them see as many things as they can.
We’re not talking about vacations and lavish trips. If not on a loose budget, go to public parks. There are several locally. Every, single one is 100 percent free of charge. Attend local sporting events at the high school — or even the collegiate level. Did you know that several of Nicholls’ athletic events are free of charge? And almost every, single one of their programs (if not all of them) feature local faces who serve as inspiration that great things are possible through hard work and dedication to a craft.
But perhaps more important than any of these — let your child be a child; for as long as possible.
In today’s fast-paced world, young people are asked to grow up faster now than ever before — often when they’re not ready.
Be patient with our youth. Allow them to be kids. Help them through mistakes and show them the way.
It doesn’t sound like much, does it?
But we promise — if every household in the Houma-Thibodaux area did just a little better job in supporting our youth, we promise that the issue of bullying would shrink and be far less of a problem tomorrow than it is today.
We applaud schools for the work they’re doing.
But there’s only so much that can be done given the time they have kids on a day-to-day basis.
We, as parents, have to do more, too.
Together, we can push back.
Because no child should have to be afraid to go to school.
And all children should be able to have fun being kids without fear of being judged or picked on. •