Not only that, he said, but over time incivility has become viewed as "funny" or "cool." "Students get into fights, complain, make sarcastic remarks. They are inconsiderate or use offensive names."
And if negative behavior doesn't come naturally, popular media stands ready to model it, he said. The message is "this is what it means to be a youth. That's a problem if nobody's teaching the kids what is civil behavior, what it looks like, how to do it and why it's important."
Some parents, in fact, do the opposite. Bayer said it is discouraging to teach kids manners and civility and then send them into a world — including their homes — that not only doesn't practice it but may ridicule civility. Caldarella said teachers sometimes see those efforts undone as well.
"Study after study shows when it is implemented well, the school climate improves with fewer sent to the office and less fighting. I believe that people respond to the environments they are in," he said.
When decent behavior is not reinforced at home or is actually punished, if in school it's not considered cool, adolescents drop civil behavior, Caldarella said. Incivility has received attention on the roads, in the workplace, on college campuses and in politics, he added.
"Training in civility could help our society. We should model it and practice it more."
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