Start Being Proactive When it Comes to Bullying

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You can understand why parents gloss over their children’s bullying issues. Our generation, and the ones before, had to deal with bullying in the most unpleasant of ways. We were instructed not to tell on the bully, but rather to stand up for ourselves or ignore them. Parents need to have the message reinforced that we know better now, and therefore should take these instances more seriously.

But what excuse do teachers and school administrators have? Remember, these are the same schools that are happy to parade their glossy brochures with lines like, “we offer a safe environment in which your child can thrive.”

They have no choice but to take an active role in ensuring that bullying doesn’t go unnoticed.

But many don’t.

There is a misconception among the wider community that nowadays schools are extremely proactive when it comes to bullying. Some are (I know mine is), but most are unfortunately extremely reactive. You see, the biggest concern for schools is not that they have cases of bullying within their grounds, but that they could potentially be sued for it.

That is why the methodology for many schools concerning this issue is to have a anti-bullying policy in place. This policy usually contains a pretty standard set of procedures a school must undertake when a case of bullying has been presented to them. As long as they follow the steps – no lawsuit.

But just wait a minute, I hear you asking. What is the motivation for a school to uncover bullying that hasn’t been reported to them?

And this is where we get to the crux of the problem.

Parents are not confronting the school and neither are students. School employees are happy to play the “as long as I don’t know about it, it must not exist” game, and thus, bullying continues to be rampant. Even when teachers do notice a possible bullying incident, they often find ways to dismiss it as a natural conflict rather than a case of bullying.

So I am not in the least bit surprised when I read articles like this one?:

 

If the thought of your child being bullied at school breaks your heart, then consider this – you might not even notice.

Analysis of a study of more than 4000 children has found parents and teachers often do not realise children are being bullied.

For more than half of the children who said they had been bullied, their parents were either not aware or did not consider the actions were bullying, research from the Australian Institute of Family Studies shows.

And the vast majority of teachers – four out of five – did not report the child had been a victim of bullying, suggesting they need more training on how to respond.

One in three 10-year-olds said they had been bullied in Australian schools, the research found.

Being bullied at a young age was a sad precursor of things to come, with one in seven children persistently bullied or picked on throughout their entire school life.

“One of the obstacles to adults understanding is that parents and teachers dismiss teasing or name calling or put downs as normal or harmless,’’ researcher Jodie Lodge said.

“Bullying is not a normal behaviour, it’s not just part of growing up, it is a serious concern.”

When children do talk to their parents about it they need to be listened to, otherwise they start to doubt their own feelings and views, Dr Lodge said.

I suggest parents and teachers share this film with their kids. It is the best resource around at defining bullying, offering advice on how to deal with common incidents and suggest when students should handle issues on their own and when it is best to get the teacher involved.

Click on the link to read The Real “Mean Girls”

Click on the link to read Anti-Bullying Song Goes Viral

Click on the link to read Some Schools Just Don’t Get it When it Comes to Bullying

Click on the link to read The Bystander Experiment (Video)

Click on the link to read Tips for Managing Workplace Bullying

Click on the link to read 12,000 Students a Year Change Schools Due to Bullying

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One Response to “Start Being Proactive When it Comes to Bullying”

  1. John Tapscott Says:

    Teachers are bullied. Bullying is a common management strategy. It hardly rates a mention in departmental correspondence. Why not? Because it’s embedded in the departmental water supply. If it was acknowledged it would need to be dealt with. Because it is in the water supply nobody wants to expose it as it is applied to teachers so it is also not very well exposed when it happens to children. It’s a taboo subject, but when it does get an airing it may be dealt with in a coercive way. Ironically children are bullied by adults not to be bullies.

    If departmental bullying was exposed and dealt with, whatever the fall out, bullying among children would be more effectively dealt with as a resulting change in the culture. As long as it is swept under the mat, or redefined, it remains in the culture and continues.

    The following is a quote from educationist, Haim Ginott’s book “Between Teacher and Child”

    “I’ve come to a frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized.”

    When a principal or superintendent can say ““I’ve come to a frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the system. It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As an administrator, I possess a tremendous power to make a teacher’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a teacher humanized or dehumanized.” When an administrator can say that and mean it we will be well on the road to eliminating bullying in schools.

    I’m sure many teachers have had the experience of working in a school under an oppressive regime, which changes on the days when the principal is absent. Everyone lightens up and the job is a joy and a pleasure once more, for a short time.

    Here’s another quote from Ginott for good measure:

    “Misbehaviour and punishment are not opposites that cancel each other – on the contrary they breed and reinforce each other.”

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