I am writing to express my concern about the current New Mexico Public Education Department Anti-Bullying Policy. It maintains focus on the “perpetrator, bullying behavior, and the consequences related to the combination of the two.”
This means the focus is neither on the underlying issues from which bullying may stem, nor on supporting the target after the experience of being bullied. The list of requirements places importance on investigation and disciplinary action, with no mention of supports from which the “perpetrator,” the target and bystanders would likely benefit.
The policy in place serves as an excellent guide to follow for adequately assessing each incident to implement appropriate disciplinary action. However, it does not address the needs of the “perpetrator,” target, and/or bystanders.
Bullying does not result from one isolated incident, but from repeated incidents and can have lasting, damaging effects on students that could benefit from mental/behavioral health intervention.
I agree with the current policy statement: “Bullying behavior can take many forms and can vary dramatically in how serious it is, and what impact it has on the targeted individual and other students,” though I believe an updated policy that shares the focus with efforts that are more supportive of those involved would offer a more well-rounded solution as we continue to work on prevention.
I encourage your readers to write Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham on this matter at: https://www.governor.state.nm.us/contact-the-governor/ or write to 490 Old Santa Fe Trail Room 400, Santa Fe, NM 87501