Jennings Randolph Elementary School has been receiving a lot of attention lately, both in the media and on the street, for a certain instance in which a group of students allegedly had a list of others they'd like to see dead. The definition of "kill list" is self explanatory, but what does it really mean?
Our best deduction is that it's bullying to the extreme. While bullying isn't anything new, it has come to the national and local forefront in recent years, and it's something educators are taking more seriously than ever. It's well they should. Any threat can easily become more than just that - it can become an action.
Randolph County Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Phares has addressed the situation at JRES publicly several times in the past week. On Monday during a board of education meeting, he said, school employees have put in more than 500 hours this school year investigating similar situations. On March 14, he told The Inter-Mountain, "We've been so inundated with bullying and harassment, and these situations take days to investigate ." He added that the school system has contracted with a former educator, Terry Nelson, to take students' statements in such situations.
It sounds like we have a problem here when the superintendent uses a word like "inundated" to describe the amount of bullying and harassment. We wonder if there is an increase in actual serious threats or if students are reporting every little thing. Still, these students must be feeling fear or some type of discomfort, and school officials are doing what they should do by following through with an investigation.
Phares wasn't specific, but it sounds as if these incidents aren't taking place at just one school. He can certainly rest assured that it isn't occurring only in his county.
So, what makes someone a bully? The answers are varied. What's more important is we need to put a stop to it. Violence often breeds violence. As parents, educators and community members we need to come together for a solution.