There was an article in this month's Family Circle magazine about the rise of cyber and other bullying. I'm very fortunate in that I haven't had to deal with bullies at my kids' public school. I will say, however, that we did have to deal with it at another school and it was both troubling and frustrating.
The problem with bullying, as I see it, is that many parents condone it. I'm not saying that parents are deliberately mean. I just think that many parents believe that mere "teasing" is a part of being a kid. When the behavior crosses the line, I think parents either don't see the transition or don't believe that it's a real problem. The latter was the issue in our case.
When the bullying started in our case, the behavior was considered by the parent to be part of growing up. The excuse was that everyone the kid saw did it so there was nothing that could be done until he got older - kind of the "he'll grow out of it" theory. That logic completely escapes me.
Since the parents refused to do anything about it, the entire burden of dealing with the child fell to the teachers. Eventually, the behavior stopped but not without a lot of grief in the meantime. Sadly, we all too often today have to lean on teachers - in both private and public schools - to be everything to all children when their parents won't step in and do the right thing.
In Philly, the public schools do have a bullying policy. On August 18, 2010, Superintendent Ackerman sent a letter about bullying outlining the SDP's position on on the matter. Here's the official word from the SDP web site on bullying.