"Sticks, stones, and bullets may break their bones, and words can break their hearts," write Drs. Garbarino and deLara in their book on bullying among teenagers. "And Words Can Hurt Forever" not only describes the increasing reality of the problem, but it also gives parents concrete ideas on what they can to protect their children.
From their base at Cornell University, the authors interviewed students, teachers, and administrators from around the country. They found that, everyday, millions of teenagers suffer from emotional violence in the form of bullying, stalking, intimidation, and humiliation.
"Over and over again parents are surprised, even stunned, to discover the extent and nature of the emotional and physical violence that their teenagers face at school," they say. The problem persists because students don't tell adults about it, and administrators are indifferent or unable to do anything.
Garbarino and deLara point out that, if the same thing happened to us in our workplace, we would be quick to take legal action. Don't our children deserve the same level of protection? So, what can we do to create a safer environment for our teens? The "What You Can Do" list at the every chapter outlines concrete ideas such as: recognize that most students want adults to intervene; volunteer to supervise trouble areas of the building; exercise your right to contact your school board president; and if nothing improves for your child, consider legal intervention.
Doctors Garbarino and de Lara conclude their book by saying: "When it comes to bullying, sexual harassment, and emotional violence at school, the buck stops with adults."