Look for ways to prevent future bad behavior

Reports of increasing bad behavior by junior and high school students is an issue that is being dealt with in different ways, depending on the state or school district. And of course, there are many opinions on why it happens and how to deal with it.

Often times, bad behavior such as bullying is not publicly known until it becomes a major tragedy, such as the recent incident in Blue Earth where a high school student was severely beaten at a party. Two students are now facing felony charges and angry parents showed up at a school board meeting to complain about the ongoing bullying throughout the Blue Earth school district.

Two recent Independent articles focused on the proactive programs at Marshall Public Schools.

The first article featured a report to the school board on a restorative justice practices program. It involves students involved in a variety of offenses to voluntarily participate in an activity called a “Circle.” The “Circle” involves the offender and those who are harmed and how to make it right. According to Lyon County circle specialist Andrew Pelz, “Circles” are all about giving the offenders the “opportunity to right their wrongs.”

And apparently, participating in a circle does not mean the offender skips consequences. Pelz said “Circles” can work in lieu of suspending a student or in conjunction with a suspension.

Another recent article featured a Marshall High graduate telling his story of being bullied because of a health condition that made his head bobble. He spoke to students at Marshall Area Technical Education Center.

Nelson’s willingness to talk about his painful years in school is a good lesson for students to learn how their actions affect others. Nelson revealed to the students that he contemplated taking his own life at one point.

Both instances of dealing with bad behavior are all about getting to the root of the problem. These are positive programs that may prevent future bad behavior.