The beginning of the school year brings so many good things — a renewed sense of community, meeting new friends and reconnecting with old ones, academic progress and extracurricular opportunities, just to name a few.
Unfortunately, it also brings students into contact with bullies. Stopping bullying before it starts requires vigilance on the part of students, school staff and parents.
While bullying can sometimes be subtle, in other cases it flares in violence.
On Tuesday, Aug. 20, at Alexandria-Monroe Jr.-Sr. High School, a group of bullies attacked a student, who was taken to the hospital for treatment of his injuries.
According to school Principal Tom Johns, the assault began in a locker room and was instigated by a sophomore.
Other sophomores joined the attack and some students, instead of coming to the aid of the victim, took videos.
After an examination by the school nurse, the victim’s mother took him to an Anderson hospital, Johns said in an article published Aug. 22 in The Herald Bulletin.
Alexandria school officials and police are investigating the possibility that the victim was targeted because of his perceived sexual orientation.
The principal said that, in addition to promoting tolerance and inclusiveness, Alexandria-Monroe offers support groups and access to mental health professionals for LGBTQ students.
That’s a step in the right direction to help vulnerable students. Such support must be accompanied by a consistent, determined effort to discourage bullying and a stubborn refusal to accept it in a school’s culture.