I’m writing a response to Donna Dickman’s column about bullying (The Lima News, Feb. 18).
I believe Donna left out a very important piece about how to deal with bullies and victims. I believe we have to understand the needs of a bully and how to address them other than with punishment or isolation, This does not deal with the cycle of violence. If there is no intervention for bullies, often they carry this violent behavior into adulthood. I believe interventions are needed for bullies and victims to learn how to use their power appropriately. Restorative Discipline is an approach that offers hope and healing to relationships.
This is a peacemaking process that invites students to discuss what happened in the conflict, and how they felt about it. It builds empathy for the other person. This process gives all persons involved an opportunity to “make things right,” either with an apology or some way to restore equity to the relationship, and a plan to try to prevent this from happening in the future. A written agreement is signed and followed up with meeting to discuss if the agreement was kept. This approach has repeatedly transformed students and taught them skills to respond in respectful ways to their peers and people in authority.
— Carol Welty, Lima