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Editorial: Anti-bullying starts with you

Teachers are responsible for creating safe, productive classrooms. Ideally, they provide the optimal learning environment for students to grow and reach their full potential. This includes enforcing a zero-tolerance policy toward bullying.

Our educators also incorporate respect, attitude and character -- all valuable lessons -- into the curriculum.

But children spend more time out of school than they do in school. That puts the true onus for creating the best learning environment on parents.

So what's a mother (or father) to do?

Red Wing Community Education will bring Marion London to town Thursday to help answer that question. She will present "Bullying: What's a Person to Do?" from 7 to 9 p.m. at Red Wing High School.

London will explore bullying and the roles that bystanders -- siblings, parents, neighbors and friends -- play in this aggressive, destructive and intentional behavior that is about exerting power over others.

You needn't be a parent to attend. The bigger question, really, is what's a community to do? Community, of course, means you.

First, we must agree to make our community as inclusive and safe as we possibly can. We can start by agreeing to:

• intervene or redirect behavior when we see bullying or potential bullying.

• point out bullying when we see it portrayed on TV and in books, and ask children what they would do.

• support our teachers and work with them to stop bullying.

Schools cannot control the environment in which children spend the majority of their time. For a while, parents control that environment. As children grow older, however, they go out more and more without their parents, and that is when bullying clearly requires a communitywide response.

Let's stop bullying the moment it starts. You know what you need to do.