Posts Tagged ‘middle school’

School Freaks Out Its Parents for No Logical Reason

January 14, 2015

w.f. burns

What on earth was the Principal thinking? Firstly, this dumb idea encourages children to fight gunmen with baked beans cans instead of running for cover, and secondly, it encourages parents to panic about a scenario that is both remote and strictly hypothetical.

 

A US high school has asked parents to arm their children with cans of food as part of its response plan against gun-armed intruders.

School officials from W.F. Burns Middle School in Valley, Alabama, wrote a letter to students’ parents, asking them to buy their children “an 8 oz canned food item (corn, beans, peas etc.) to use in case an intruder enters the classroom”.

“We hope the canned food items will never be used or needed, but it is best to be prepared.”

The strategy was inspired by the ALICE Training Institute, a company founded by a former police officer and a former primary school principal.

The institute follows the mantra of: Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate, and the cans of food are only a small — but still important — part of the whole procedure, school officials wrote.

“We realise at first this may seem odd; however, it is a practice that would catch an intruder off-guard,” the letter read.

“The canned food item could stun the intruder or even knock him out until the police arrive. The canned food item will give the students a sense of empowerment to protect themselves and will make them feel secure in case an intruder enters the classroom.”

Since the letter was sent out, it has been shared thousands of times, with some questioning its effectiveness.

But Chambers County School Superintendent Kelli Moore Hodge told CNN via email that the point of the training “is to be able to get kids evacuated and not be sitting ducks hiding under desks”.

Since the year 2000, the US has suffered through more than 100 school shootings, including the horrific 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, which claimed the lives of 27 people, 18 of them children.

 

Click on the link to read Nine-Year-Old Writes a Stunning Letter to Teacher After He Reveals He is Gay

Click on the link to read What’s in a Name?

Click on the link to read 10 Ways to Move Forward in Teaching as Well as Life in General

Click on the link to read 5 Ways the System Could Better Recognise Teachers

Click on the link to read Teachers, Lay Down Your Guns

Things Middle School Students Wish We Knew

December 15, 2014

middle

Courtesy of weareteachers.com via  :

 

1. I was not trying to get attention by falling off the chair. I am approximately infinity inches bigger than I was yesterday and I just lost track of how to balance. I felt like an idiot so I made falling into a joke. Crying was the other choice. And I’d rather cut off my arm than cry in school.

2. I did that homework. I am almost positive I did it. Getting it from done to folder to backpack to school to you is like seven extra homeworks. That is too many. It’s also possible I forgot to do the homework. I honestly have no idea where my planner is. Or maybe the homework was completely confusing and if I asked for help people might think I am stupid now when that used to be my best subject.

3. That time I called you Mom was the most humiliating moment of my life. It’s one thing in second grade but middle school? Ugh. How does this stuff still happen to me?

4. When you force us to get up—do stuff, act it out, test our ideas—it wakes us up and makes the lesson so much more fun and easy to remember.

5. Sometimes I just can’t focus. I’m buzzy, jumpy, pumped with electricity. Somebody suddenly looks distractingly attractive, across the room, which is fully that other person’s fault, not mine. Or I don’t get what we’re discussing and the pain of not understanding is so excruciating I just have to take a break from paying attention.

6. It feels awesome when you notice something special about me. When you value a skill or interest of mine, you give me a route in to subjects I didn’t think I’d like—and make me feel like I have something worth sharing.

7. What you tell me about myself matters way more than I hope you know. When you tell me I am something—smart, brave, kind, stupid, a trouble-maker, creative, a writer, a mathematician, funny, hard-working—I believe you.

8. I like it when you’re sarcastic but not when you’re harsh. When you say something ironically and I get it, I feel smart and mature. But when you’re mocking in a sharper way, it feels mean and a little scary.

9. Respect me. There are lots of things I already know about myself. Some I want to talk about, A LOT, and it means so much to me when you find time to include me (and it) in class. But lots of other things about me, I’m not ready to discuss, and especially not in class.

10. If you call on me and I am flat-out wrong, please don’t humiliate me. I’m already praying for a hole to open up in the floor and swallow me. It’s hard for me to believe that not knowing isn’t shameful but is instead a good starting point for learning. Help me.

And one bonus extra thing: You are suddenly one of the most important adults in my whole world. How you respond to me affects everything. Please be tough. Please be gentle. Especially when I am neither.

 

Click on the link to read Watch a Classic Argument in Action (Video)

Click on the link to read 7 Things a Quiet Student Wishes Their Teacher Knew

Click on the link to read Skills That Aren’t Taught But Should Be: #1 People Skills

Click on the link to read Top 10 Most Unusual School Bans

Click on the link to read Rules that Restrict the Teacher and Enslave the Student

The Fixation on Bus Monitor’s Donation Earnings is Extremely Disappointing

June 24, 2012

I can’t believe the rhetoric I have read about the money Karen Klein is earning from donations. So what? Generous people were so outraged by what they witnessed on that clip that they donated money. Get over it!

This story was never really about a bus monitor anyway. The. Klein case merely exemplified some very big bullying related issues – namely, the lack of respect many children have for adults, the lack of empathy for a person who is clearly being hurt, the influence of a group in regards to peer pressure and the passive behaviour from bystanders.

I am happy that Ms. Klein’s earnings mean she never has to step foot on that bus with those children again:

An elderly bus monitor who was taunted, picked on and threatened by a quartet of ruthless seventh-graders is likely going to retire on the $586,000 she has so far received in donations from concerned strangers who were outraged after viewing a video that captured her torment.

‘She is definitely surprised and overwhelmed and certainly thankful for everyone’s support, and it is nice knowing she is not alone,’ Karen Huff Klein’s daughter, Amanda Romig, told RadarOnline.com on Friday.

‘We never thought it was going to be that much, she didn’t think that much – then wow!’ Romig added, saying that her 68-year-old mother is not likely to return to work.

Click here on my post which discussed the need to punish the middle school children involved.

I hope the generous people who helped secure this donation together with the many other people who were shocked and angered by the clip, now focus their energies on ensuring that their children never treat people like those middle school children treated Ms. Klein.

Video of a Bus Monitor Being Bullied by Middle School Children Goes Viral

June 22, 2012

I’m sick of reading excuses for why a bus full of middle school children acted in a most deplorable way to their bus monitor. There are no excuses for such vile behavior. I don’t care what age you are, you have a responsibility to be a good citizen and decent person. It sickens me to see a pack bullying situation where a soft target is exposed and then tormented without any resistance whatsoever.

Explanations like this are both unhelpful and insensitive to poor bus monitor, Karen Klein:

When kids reach middle school, bullying becomes more common and more sophisticated, experts says.

“Middle school-age kids are sort of an age group that is notorious for an uptick in the intensity of bullying,” said Dr. Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist in New York and TODAY contributor.

During the middle school years, kids are facing intense peer pressure, the pack mentality is strong and kids feel a growing sense of independence – all while their moral compasses are still developing, she said.

“It’s a time when they’re figuring out who they are by sometimes crossing the line and breaking the rules,” Saltz says. “Their insecurity drives a lot of cliquishness and defining themselves as better by making someone else feel worse.”

Don’t even try to excuse this behaviour in any way based on the age of the perpetrators. This is a culture problem. The parents of these children need to do as much soul-searching as the children themselves.

I am saddened to hear about the families of the students getting death threats. What kind of response is that? What is the sense in dealing with bullying by continuing the chain of bullying? This is isn’t even about a bus full of children. This has even wider implications.

Middle school children worldwide should be put on notice. No more excuses. I don’t care how old you are. It’s time to grow up and treat others with respect!

Heroic Girl Stands Up to Bullies Only to be Labeled One Herself

June 20, 2012

One of the major stumbling blocks in the fight against bullying is the passive nature of bystanders. The last thing we want to see is children who would ordinarily stand up to bullies show a reluctance because of a lack of leadership and support from their school.

Here is a case where a girl confronted bullies who were bullying a disabled child, only to have her efforts undermined and used against her:

A Florida teen who decided to stand up against kids who were bullying a mentally disabled student on the bus is being called a bully herself.

Stormy Rich, 18, had been riding on a middle school bus because she had enough credits to start classes later in the day at Umatilla High School, the Daily Commercial reported, but she says she was shocked by how some of the middle school girls were treating a student with mental disabilities.

She thought she was doing the right thing in reporting bullying incidents she witnessed against a mentally-challenged middle school girl by a group of girls on morning bus rides to school.“I’m a very outspoken person,” Rich said. “I stick up for what I feel is right. In the school code of conduct handbook, it is clearly stated that bullying is a non-tolerable offense.”

Rich first complained to the bus driver but the bullying continued. She then complained to a high school official, who said he would contact the middle school, but nothing changed.

“I would sit on the bus every single day and see the bullying was still going on and nothing was being done,” Rich told the Daily Commercial. “It was aggravating,” she added.

The senior demanded the bullies stop, which worked for a while. She said they then began threatening her, even though she complained about this to school personnel on almost a daily basis for about two weeks. The mother and daughter even contacted police.

“Enough is enough,” Rich said in her written complaint. “Something should be done.”

What happened next stunned Stormy and her mother, Brenda. 

On May 4, they got a letter from the school saying her daughter was kicked off the middle school bus. A district school official said Rich displayed bullying behavior in her comments.

“She said what I did made me the bully, with me telling the kids that if they didn’t stop, and if the school didn’t do anything, that I would have to handle it,” Rich said. “To me, it was just going too far.”

According to Christopher Patton, communications officer for Lake County Schools, a courtesy had been extended to Rich to ride the middle school bus.

“Due to circumstances on the bus, the privileges were revoked,” he said.

Patton said he could not discuss the bullying complaints filed by Rich or her mother. He also could not say if any action was taken about those complaints.

 

Below is a trailer from the soon to be released film How to UnMake a Bystander, which couldn’t come at a better time.

 

Click on the link to read my post on 8 strategies for standing up to bullies.

Students Using the First Amendment to Slander Their Principals

January 15, 2012

I am a big believer in free speech. I consider myself very lucky to be in a country where my thoughts and feelings can be expressed freely without recriminations. But like all other laws and freedoms there are boundaries. I might have free speech, but I am also restricted by sensible limitations to what I can say.

When students use social media to call their Principals names like a “big fag”, “whore”, “hairy sex addict” and “pervert”, and the consequence for their actions is nothing more than a suspension, I think they should count themselves very lucky. To then sue on the grounds of freedom of speech and win says a lot about the judicial system and the difficulties educators face in earning basic respect.

A middle school principal in northeastern Pennsylvania was shocked to see his photo online along with a description of him as a “hairy sex addict” and a “pervert” who liked “hitting on students” in his office.

A high school principal north of Pittsburgh saw a MySpace profile of himself that called him a “big fag,” a “whore” and a drug user. And in West Virginia, a school principal found out that a girl had created an online site to maliciously mock another girl as a “slut” with herpes.

All three students were suspended from school and filed suits against the principal and the school districts. They argued the 1st Amendment protected them from being punished for postings from their home computers. And in the two Pennsylvania cases, they won.

Whilst these awful slurs may technically be classified as “free speech”, verbal bullying of any kind can also be defended under the guise of free speech. Is this what we want? People supported by the courts to demoralise, slur and denigrate others? How are principals supposed to tackle bullying when they can’t even deal with bullies who are attacking them?

The exploitation of free speech will see bullying, especially cyber bullying, continue to gain momentum. These students should never have been suspended. They should have been expelled!


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