@raybies,Improving adult behavior is still best solution. We
can't just pass a law, but we can each choose to change our own behavior
for starters.I like all your ideas about how to help students in the
meantime. I'm not against doing what we can at school.
John CC: Unfortunately your solution is to do nothing. Most educators have
access ONLY to the children, they cannot do anything about the parents.
Therefore the only outlet they have is expertly training counselors, teachers
and administrators to look for this stuff, or to make the student body aware of
the problems.Most kids can be taught to recognize bullying and even
to stand together with their peers to find ways to work it out. It is not
impossible to teach healthy debate strategies and problem solving skills to even
younger kids, though at extremely young ages that can be daunting. Still, They
are not fragile little victims, sure some have deep-rooted domestic challenges,
but even those can be mitigated with continual engagement.
Quit pressuring the kids. Most bully in response to problems of their own. The
only ones mature enough to be accountable are the adults in their lives.
Bullying doesn't begin at school, it begins at home and in the
neighborhood. Adults need to culture peace among themselves
first--be models of conflict resolution. Having taught school for 31 years I
can't tell you the number of times I've talked to parents of both the
bullies and the bullied (sometimes the same student). Often the sources of the
problems were apparent, considering the adults in their lives. Try a little
quasi-interrogation to get to the bottom of a playground incident, and
you'll find some kids so skilled at faking alibis you would wonder where
they got all the practice. Or why they fear the truth.Educators are
in no position to investigate what's wrong in the homes. I'm not
against doing what we can at school, but such efforts are doomed to be little
more than band-aids--better than nothing. The true solution is both indirect
and long term. We must be more civil and supportive of each other. Children
Great article Lois. Too often the kids are seen as something to be controlled,
but engaging children in the effort really is the only effective way to manage
it.Not only do kids need training about this, but as they get older,
teens need to be taught to recognize the signs of depression and suicide among
their peers. They need to understand there are serious consequences to
contentious behaviors like bullying, and how to recognize the victims. Too often kids, like adults, get caught up in assigning blame, and never
really get to the core troubles facing the kids that are both bullies and
victims. Counsellors and administrators are not only poorly equipped to handle
this sort of thing, but they are often not trusted enough to be helpful. It's the peers that matter. Kids don't want/need more adult
friends, yet too often that's how counselors attempt to solve the
problem... and inherently they will feed into many of the habits that make the
"popular" kids loathesome to other kids... Kids in school want to have
peers they can trust and work with and be their friends. The power of a peer can
be immensely positive.
Read the book Ender's Game to see how to deal with bullies.You
can't tell you kids that it will go away. You and your child need to be
pro-active and stop it in a way that the bully is afraid to act again.
(Don't go to Ender's extreme) If you child is being physically
bullied either pull them or put them in a self defense class so that the bully
will think twice. If they are being verbally bullied you pester the school and
the bully's parents to stop it.
Physical, sexual, and social harassment (often lumped together with
'bullying') are much more difficult to stop than the situation in this
article. If you know of someone who is being harassed - basically judge this
by asking, "If this behavior was between teacher and teacher in the staff
room - would there be legal action?" the following steps will make a big
difference: 1. DO TELL the victim it may never end it very well can
get more violent/exploitive/dangerous. 2. EMPOWER the victim to
minimize the damage. You can do this by a. removing him/her from the situation,
b. seeking real counseling, c. having the victim report -in the newspapers,
social media - expose them...do not hide it, d. giving the victim lots and lots
of physical activity to work out the frustration and feel physically powerful,
and e. letting the victim serve others - to focus on those who need more help
than she/he does.3. WARN When girls are harassed real creeps show up
and promise them love (although tacitly) if they are willing sexual partners.
The girls may think that having a boyfriend will ease the pain or prove that
they are of worth.
Mater and matter are two different words. No one promised me a rose garden. The
long line that you would have to stand in and wait for God to help is infinitely
long. The second [t] in the word matter. Time to start doing something. God
helps those who help them self. Bad things happen to good people. Forgiveness
Children in schools ought to recieve an orientation where it is explained to
them what bullying is and that it is wrong and that it will not be tolerated.
Those children wanting to attend the school should then sign a pledge that they
will not bully and they will not tollerate those who do, i.e. they will remind
them of the pledge and if they ignore the reminding they will turn them in.