Woman says bullying is a problem in schools

January 28, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

Sometimes it starts as an innocent game of tag that goes too far.

Other times it's fueled by anger.

Whatever the reason, Sharpsburg resident Deborah Young, 53, says her 10-year-old granddaughter is being bullied at her Hagerstown elementary school. Coming home with a bloody nose or a visible bruise is not uncommon for the fifth-grader, Young said.

"(Bullying) is a problem in Washington County schools," she said. "There are children being hurt."

The Herald-Mail asked the nine candidates vying for a seat on the Washington County Board of Education whether they believe there is a bullying problem in the county's public schools. They also share what they would do to help on page A3 of today's newspaper.

This question, which was submitted by Young, is the third in a series of questions candidates have answered.

Young said the abuse her granddaughter suffers occurs mainly on the school's playground.

"When teachers are on the playground, they need to clearly be paying more attention to what is going on," she said.


She suggested that parents also volunteer to watch children during recess.

Young also said that there should be clear guidelines that define what bullying is. If there is a "hands-off" policy, it should be enforced, and disciplinary action should be taken against bullies, she said.

Young adds that bullying also should be addressed at home.

"(Parents) should express clearly to their children when they begin school ... you do not harm another person, another child," she said. "If you have a problem, go to an adult to get it resolved."

Most candidates said educating students, parents, teachers and staff about what actions define bullying and having consistent repercussions for bullying are vital.

The field of nine candidates running in the Feb. 12 primary election for the Washington County Board of Education includes two incumbents and three former board members.

The candidates are competing for four open seats on the board. Eight will move on to the general election Nov. 4.

The candidates are Donna Brightman, Jacqueline B. Fischer, W. Edward Forrest, Meredith Fouche, Justin M. Hartings, Tom Janus, Margaret Lowery, Wayne D. Ridenour and Russell F. Williams II.

For more information

To learn more about the candidates for the Washington County Board of Education, go to and click on the 2008 Election Coverage box.

At that site, you'll find a video of each candidate explaining why voters should vote for him or her, profiles of each and more.

Dates to remember

· Primary election date: Feb. 12.

· General election date: Nov. 4.

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