Bullying

I read an article this morning about a bus monitor who was bullied by middle school students.  It also has a slideshow of other recent bullying incidents in the news.  If you’re on Facebook, chances are you’re hearing about bullying there, too.  And most likely, you remember incidents of being bullied in your own life.  In the classroom this last year alone, I dealt with bullying on a weekly, if not daily, basis.    Last year, I intervened when my daughter was bullied.  I dealt with bullying when my son was in school.  Other family members have been bullied.  I’ve been called a bully myself.There aren’t many issues that can make me feel as helpless as this one, as a victim, teacher, parent, and person.

In my classroom, we talk about what it feels like to be bullied.  I tell them that if they see bullying, tell the bully to stop.  My number one obstacle?  Parents who say that their child was bullied first, when I tell them that their child is involved in bullying.  It’s such a he-said, she-said issue.  Bullies usually won’t pull something right in front of me, so it’s always a follow-up “investigation.”  I use a program called Second-Step, but I really don’t see any evidence that it helps.  I keep the counselor informed of bullying issues in my classroom.  I have a box for kids to drop me a line telling me what’s going on.  My goal is to give kids the language to solve their problems.  Sometimes their take on a situation is really ineffective communication.

I’m familiar with the “don’ts.”  Don’t confront your child’s bully or that child’s parents.  Don’t tattle.  Don’t be a bully magnet.  Don’t lose sight of the bully’s own issues.  Don’t judge without investigating.  Don’t be a helicopter parent.  But the media, parents, and especially victims, all say “DO SOMETHING!”

What, exactly?  What else should be done to prevent bullying, stop bullying, and help the victim?

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2 responses to this post.

  1. The issue I have is the bus monitor didn’t stand up for herself at all. She is an adult with a lot of life experience who apparently has some experience working with this age of students. Everyone is giving her kudos for not retaliating. Of course she shouldn’t have smacked anyone but she should have said something to them like “that’s not okay”, “you’re being rude to me and it needs to stop”, “I’ll make sure I get your name and call your parents to discuss your inappropriate behavior”. It may or may not have stopped the behavior but she would not have been such a victim by standing up for herself. As an adult and as an employee/volunteer of the district/bus company she has some power here. It annoys me that she didn’t attempt to use any of her power thus perpetuating the whole victim mentality. In a nut shell, by not speaking up, she helped them get away with it. She should have held them accountable in some way.

    Reply

    • I agree! She did try a few times, but passively. “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” “Why don’t you take someone else’s picture and turn that thing off?” I’d see her mouth moving, but couldn’t hear what she’s saying. She didn’t seem to carry any weight at all, and there’s probably a back story to that. It was a lot like watching a pack of lions take down weak prey. I see it every year with kids who are somehow “off” socially. It’s not their fault, but I don’t know how to isolate and fix those social skills that make them the prey. This woman may have been like this all her life…just don’t know.

      Reply

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