I know, I know, I know. I said that I wasn’t going to post as many “real” posts this week because this is an unusual week, with all the back-to-school giveaways going on. You should check them out, btw! Links are in the sidebar. But, this is a post that has to do with school and one that I’ve had in my drafts for months. I think it applies now and I’d love to hear some feedback on this issue.
Something should be done about bullying.
Schools need to do more about bullying.
We hear this all the time and I think that everyone agrees that it’s a problem. One that’s only getting worse because of the internet. Used to be that you could escape from it at home, as long as you didn’t answer your phone.
Now, there’s facebook, myspace, twitter, even youtube bullying. Cellphones with text bullyings.
And we all cry out why isn’t more being done to stop it?
But, can you tell me what can be done? Other than the parents of the bullies putting a stop to it.
Let me explain to you a little from a teacher’s perspective. I taught both elementary and middle school- and have to say that middle school girls are the worst.
The things that I tried as a teacher, when bullying was going on(we’re talking more verbal, not physical here- physical is actually easier to prove and to deal with than verbal, in my experience):
*Separate the kids concerned- in the classroom and lunchroom and even when we line up to go somewhere. But, the bullies still find opportunities to bully. Note: please don’t blast your child’s teacher if your child is being bullied in a class like art- go talk to the art teacher about it.
*Send the bully to the counselor and/or principal. Often, the bully either says what he/she knows the counselor wants to hear or claims that nothing is going on. And then they come back to class pissed off.
*Suspend them? Well, that’s an issue for the administration to decide on and they often don’t because it’s a lot of he said, she said. And, you often have parents who will protest this, saying it’s not fair to suspend their kids when they “didn’t do anything.”
*Conference with the parents? It’s amazing how many of these kids’ parents say “kids will be kids and they need to work it out by themselves.” Often bullies have parents who are bullies.
There are anti-bullying education programs out there and a lot of schools are starting them now, beginning in kindergarten- which is when it needs to start.
Teachers fostering an environment embracing diversity can help, too.
But, a lot comes down to the parents:
How do your kids treat other kids?
How are they being treated?
Be involved and get to know your child’s friends- if they are in with kids who bully, chances are they will either bully, too, or the group could turn on them and bully them(this is another lose-lose, but at least you can be aware)
Look for the difference between them not being friends with another child and bullying(whether they are the bully or the target)
Do not tolerate bullying at home- start young.
If your kids are older, make sure you are monitoring whatever social media they are on- I know some people will call this an invasion of privacy, while others call it parenting.
I wish that this post that gave an easy solution to the problem of bullying. I don’t have one. It’s what I struggled with the most when I was a teacher: trying to find a way to stop it.
What do you expect to be done about bullying? Please, if you have any ideas, share them!