I think the real problem is that the schools don't focus on the right people. It's all knee-jerk reactionary stuff, and not dealing with the actual problems and people causing and being affected by them.
It has always irritated me how now with all this zero tolerance stuff, the target has become the bullied person who has been pushed to the point where they are perhaps a threat to themselves or others. If that person makes any noise about something, "zero tolerance" comes into effect and they're punished. They skip that step where the people who have tormented someone to that point are dealt with. It's reactionary, and doesn't address where it all starts.
My dad is a community liason with a police force and is also involved with a lot of anti-bullying education in the schools along with his wife who is a social worker. They say there's a lot of mis-information and bad ideas about how to handle bullying, and that it's going to take a lot to get schools looking at it differently. They both loathe "zero tolerance." My dad was bullied too most of his childhood.
I agree, meatless, I agree.
It also seems like the bullied people are popular/athletic so teachers turn a blind eye, but when the quiet one says "oh I hate everyone" it's OMG! She's a threat!
Yeah, teachers don't know how to handle bulling even when they see it. I was bullied by a lot of different people mostly because I'm somewhat of an outcast. I was quiet and smart and geeky and sensitive and that makes me an easy target.
I remember in middle school not wanting to ride the bus because I was picked on at the bus stop, I think it is worse outside the classroom, in the hallways and outside.
Got an e-mail from my mom (elementary school counselor who hates "zero tolerance") today, talking about her work, so I thought I'd share with you guys.
She says that first of all, it's important to have a research-based anti-bullying program that educates children, parents and teachers about bullying from a social/emotional perspective (she recommends the Committee for Children in Seattle.) Just saying "no bullying" does NOT work and kids don't respect it or relate to it. She thinks it's important to be up front with the kids about their social dynamics--how there are always a few kids that nobody wants to play with, and a few kids on top, and how the kids in between end up being manipulated by the kids on top so they don't become pariahs. They are surprisingly understanding of this stuff and are really interested in discussing and brainstorming about it, in her experience.
She also says it's important to have a mediation program run by a counselor (rather than just getting the kids in trouble for fighting, having them work through it themselves with adult help) and also to make SURE that kids can talk to a counselor confidentially. One problem for kids is that if they "tell on" a bully, often the adult will automatically talk to the bully or the bully's parents, and then the kid who told has to fear reprisal from the bully. That's basically throwing the kid to the sharks. It's important for the kid to be able to talk to a counselor about individual problems and their possible solutions before the situation is publicized.
One thing she does is teach them to use social dynamics against bullies. For example, there was one recent situation where one kid was dominating the basketball court, deciding who could and couldn't play, deciding the rules, deciding the teams, cheating, etc. My mom knew that several of the kids were bothered by this, but were too afraid to speak out on their own. She organized them so that the boys got together and confronted the bully, saying that they would not play with him anymore unless he agreed to fair rules (that they had worked out with my mom beforehand.) That really took him down a notch and has seemed to work up to now, she said.
She also does a lot of role-playing, teaching the kids to be assertive with their bodies and faces and voices. A lot of bullies rely on the submission of the people they are bullying, and if they don't get that, they are more likely to back down. During the role plays, they analyze what worked and what didn't work, how it felt to be on either side of the fence, what felt effective and what fell flat.
The bottom line is, empowering the kids to act for themselves is the most effective solution in most situations. It comes down to undermining the social power of the bully--and that's really in the hands of the other kids, because they will always have numbers on their side. My mom says "An important thing I do is to tell the kids I don't have answers, but I want to hear what is going on and we can explore options together, then how they choose to handle it is up to them. This year I worked weekly with a group of 5th graders this way and they really came to some important realizations-that many of the things they were doing weren't working well for them, and that the options they came up with were often not realistic for various reasons. If the year had been longer I think they would have started to come up with some ideas... the cutting edge work is still to be done..."
And that's my cool mom! Hope this lends some insight!
I was bullied a lot. By three different kids. All bigger than me. This went on day after day, for about 4 years. I started reading a bit about how to handle bullies -- I forgot where. One day, when one of the bullies, A, started bullying me, I said cut that out or i'll beat the ****in **** out of you and throw you out the window and I charged him and started doing so. He seem flabbergasted. Then another kid, a week or so later, started bullying me, and I started doing the same thing. He said, "I'm not A, that won't work with me" but I kept doing, it, and finally he ran away.
Neither of them ever bothered me again. They stayed way clear of me, and told people that they thought I was insane.
I do NOT recommend this to other children, as some bullies will not back down simply due to a surprise shift in your reaction. they may take you up on the challenge, and severely injure you.
The solution is to check the all the children every day, when they arrive at school, with metal detectors, and allow the bullied children to bring in clubs, knives, and guns and ammunition, but seize any these that they try to bring in, from the bullying children. That should even up the playing field a bit. Of course, you cannot allow the children outside, or to have contact with outsiders, at all, until school closing time and the kids are sent home, as if you do, the bullies may be able to get weapons brought in, from the outside.
Oh, unless the administrators care to police the children -- which they don't seem to care to do. So in that case, the second best system is to do what the US goverment does in foreign lands -- arm those that you want in power. In this case, arm the non-bullys.
If this makes the non-bullys into bullies, then simply identify it when it happens, and remove their arms. Like the US did with Saddam Hussein. First we armed him, so that Iran wouldn't bully Iraq. When he started bullying Iraqi people, himself -- then we disarmed him. Perhaps we need to arm Iran now.
MollyGoat, your mom is Awesome!
In year 10(9th grade) I got into a fight with some girls, who i used to be friends with.. they made it their job to make my life complete hell for the whole year.
One day it got so bad I had my only ever paniac attack I've had in my life..and i was very depressed at that time because of it too.. and ran out of class.. then they sent me to the school counsellor.. and yeah they found out about the bullying.. and it wasn't just me getting bullied.
So then they got 2 girls to write accounts of what had been happening in class.
One of the girls they chose was.. ONE OF THE MAIN 3 WHO WERE DOING THE BULLYING (it was like hello.. were you listening to me?) and the other was a quite timid girl who got bullied into writing nothing was happening.
So that was kinda dumb. When I told my Mum what was going on she took me round to Amys house and i couldnt stop crying and Amys mum was all OH THAT EXPLAINS WHY YOU'VE BEEN SUCHA LITTLE COW LATELY.
Things died down, and Amy didn't utter a word to me for about a year and a half. Then Alexia and I started talking because she found my livejournal and started leaving anonymous comments (nothing mean) on it.. and I was all WHO ARE U!! And then I said I reckoned it was her.. found out it was.. and then we started sitting together in history.. and then going out together saturday nights and all that sorta stuff! And then I dont really remember how Amy and I started talking again.. but so glad!
I love those guys!
Anyway I dont really have much of a point except for 2 of the 3 girls are now my best friends. Which is.. so.. f-ing strange.. but yeah we've been really good friends for over a year now and they're my going out buddies..
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