An Issue That Cannot Be Ignored

I posted this last school year.  Bullying is an issue that robs students of dignity and the right to an education in an environment that is safe and nurturing.  I am convinced that the only way we can deal with this ever important issue is to continually talk about it with students and our school communites.   I am worried that both parents and students believe that even if they bring it forward, nothing will be done about bullying. 

My message to students and parents is this:

Students (we) need to be taught that we do not have to tolerate being bullied!

That if you (as a student or parent) do not get satisfaction from bringing a complaint forward, go to the next level!

Do not ignore when your friend, child, student, is feeling down about how they are being treated!

Together we can fight to see that no one is afraid to come to school and that everyone gets the respect they deserve!

Schools all deal with cases of bullying.  Several high profile cases and their consequences have pushed me to try to bring more attention to the problem and to search for solutions.  I challenge you, whether you be a student, parent, teacher, administrator, or interested community member to help me help our students avoid the pain and suffering that a bully can cause!

5 Comments

  1. David Truss said:

    Great video that hits the nail on the head. Perhaps a good point to make is the difference between ‘snitching’ (or ‘ratting’) and ‘reporting’. Preventing injury or harm to others is a safety issue and it is about doing what’s right and ‘reporting’ the issue… out of concern for the injured.

    I think it is really interesting how poorly some schools handle cyberbullying… they treat it like it is some ‘outside’ influence and tend not to mention it (as you have) as part of a continuum of the same issues that have, and always, existed in schools. So their solution… ban phones! So now a victim has their phone at school and is cyberbullied & the issue is compounded as they think, ‘If I take this problem to the office, I’ll get in trouble for having may phone’. Bullying of any kind is not something you can hide from. Kudos to you for putting the concern ‘out in the open’!

    Thanks for the great post!

    August 23, 2010
    Reply
    • Dave Meister said:

      David,

      Thank you for the comment. I really believe that we have to get out in front of bullying by educating our students and communities about how harmful it is and how to stop it. You make a great point about the difference between snitching and reporting. Somehow we have to let our students know that it is alright to let the adults know when someone is being picked on.

      August 23, 2010
      Reply
  2. Bill Belsey said:

    Hello David,

    Thank you for your post.

    As a parent and educator, I would like to share four Websites I have created that seek to prevent bullying through education and awareness. I hope that they may be of help, information and support to others.

    http://www.bullying.org
    The world’s most visited and referenced Website about bullying

    http://www.cyberbullying.org
    The world’s first Website about cyberbullying

    http://www.bullyingawarenessweek.org
    The official Website of the annual Bullying Awareness Week

    http://bullyingcourse.com
    Offering online courses and Webinars about bullying and cyberbullying for educators and parents

    I hope that these educational resources may prove helpful to your learning community.

    Sincerely,

    Bill Belsey
    President,
    Bullying.org
    “Where you are NOT alone!”

    e-mail: help@bullying.org

    August 24, 2010
    Reply
  3. heidi said:

    I didn’t really feel like the complexity of “relational aggression” is being addressed enough here – the nastiness that tends to happen in groups of girls (and always has – girl’s bullying has often been about social power and positioning).

    In my experience, it’s an exceptionally difficult thing for schools, parents and students to deal with. Teachers, principals and counsellors see that the “victim” is actually contributing to the problem (by overreacting to “teasing”, by acting “un-cool”, by getting upset, by being “bossy”, etc…). So it’s not a “black and white” case of bullying. And it’s often a whole group of people who do subtle stuff like talking about the victim behind her back, rolling their eyes when she speaks in class, laughing, excluding her, etc…

    As a parent, what are you supposed to do? “I’d like to report that Jane rolled her eyes at my daughter…” Ya right…

    As a fly on the wall one day, driving some kids to an event out of the school, I heard one child (a bullying victim) say to another “we have so much to talk about and you’re so nice to me when we’re away from school. How come you’re so mean to me when we’re in class?” The other child responded “Yeah, I know. It’s just that if I’m nice to you at school, then they’ll pick on my too. I don’t want to lose all of my friends, so I have to make fun of you…” Note – these were 10yr old kids!!

    This is a “culture” kind of thing. It’s not one child that can be disciplines. An escalating reporting method doesn’t help the parents/children who are involved in these situations. And it’s a learning opportunity for them all, in my opinion!

    A culture of acceptance is one that values EVERYONE for what they bring – even the kids that don’t “fit in”, are “weird”, act strange, etc… They might be gifted and have the associated social challenges there, they might have Aspergers or autism. They might have difficult home lives and can’t afford the “cool” clothes. Heck, none of us “fit in” completely, do we?

    What do we do to really “see” each child? To recognize their unique personality? To value them rather than see them as a problem to be solved”?

    What can we all do to emphasize the common “we” that is shared and sets a foundation for our community?
    Talk about it.
    Acknowledge differences.
    Find ways to promote relationships – getting to know details about each other gives us more commonality, the sense that we’re not all that different after all, makes it personal.
    Look at the FRIENDS program – http://friendsinfo.net The web page talks about anxiety, but it helps all kids in the class become aware of their thoughts and how they affect our sense of well being
    Remember that the adults in the building have to model the culture – sharing, caring, really listening to each other, no excluding anyone, no looking at someone “strange”, etc…

    Thanks for your post and for the opportunity to comment here!
    These are, indeed, important conversations!

    August 24, 2010
    Reply
    • Dave Meister said:

      Heidi,
      You make some excellent points here! You are absolutely correct that the adults, whether they be educators or others, need to model accepting behavior and take every opportunity to help young people build empathy for others. Thank you so much for your comment!

      August 24, 2010
      Reply

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