Dylan WorthenIt's the question of the decade. How far should schools go to stomp out bullying? Should a school, for example, confiscate 900-some yearbooks, destroy them, and print new books ... all because one student was called a mean name on one page of the book? That's what the mom of a teenager called a "freak" in a caption of his marching band photo wants.

Dylan Worthen's name was adjusted by someone prior to the printing of the South Paulding High School yearbook this year. Every book purchased by students at South Paulding features a photo of the 16-year-old with the addition of "freak" as a second last name.

It's cruel. It's awful. But does that mean the school should shoulder the burden of printing new books?

I don't mean to be insensitive.

If my daughter were labeled a freak in her yearbook, I don't doubt that I'd be right where Dylan Worthen's mom is, shaking my fist and demanding things be put right.

But my daughter wasn't, and I'm not.

And so my view isn't clouded by a personal bias that makes it hard to see the bigger picture.

Her son was bullied, and the kids responsible should be brought to heel for it. They should be punished. 

But how far should this school go? What does zero tolerance really mean?

We are finally at a point in society where school bullying has gone mainstream, so to speak, and we're really talking about it. No longer are we telling kids that they need to buck up and deal with it.

As a formerly bullied kid and mom of a kid who started dealing with bullies in pre-school, I'm glad to see schools taking action. But we need to be careful not to swing too far in the other direction.

Common sense must prevail!

What happened to Dylan Worthen was awful. It sucks.

But in the scheme of things, being called a "freak" in your high school yearbook is not the worst thing that could happen. Some kids saw it and probably laughed. Most probably saw it and rolled their eyes.

The real damage is if the kids who did it get away with it and aren't punished. If that happens, then ... well, isn't that enough?

Surely it's not bad enough to require a school district spend thousands of dollars on re-printing a yearbook. Thousands of dollars that could be spent on educating kids?

What do you think the school should do here? Is it enough just to punish the kids?

 


Image via KSDK