Never has the topic of bullying in schools been more focused on in history than right now at this moment. However, it appears that bullying has never been more prevalent in history either than right at this moment. There are so many more avenues now where students can seek out and bully other students. The schools can certainly help with the problem, but a good portion of the work must be done at home.
Back in the Day
I can recall getting bullied at school by older students in the upper grades and even other boys in my own class. I was one of the younger kids in my grade and I never really fit in physically until I was out of high school. To say I was an easy target would probably be fair, but I always tried to stay out of trouble and turn the other cheek when the bullying happened.
Sometimes it even turned physical and I would avoid it as best as I could because it was never just a one on one type situation. Most bullying happens when there is a small group to back up the instigator. It was a group of kids choosing to act in a gang mentality to make my life difficult.
This was part of the reason I hit the weight room and became a 250-pound hulk by my mid-20s. I still am good size years later. As an educator, I can fully sympathize and empathize with students that suffer through years of bullying. You aren’t looking forward to school each day. You aren’t able to learn even if you like the subject that is being taught. Your mind instead is just in survival mode. And no kid deserves to be placed in this situation.
There Are More Opportunities for Bullying Now
With social media being everywhere nowadays, the opportunity for bullies to strike is much more prevalent as well. They can taunt and threaten you through Facebook, Twitter, and various other platforms. The sad news is that bullying on social media is not just a school thing. Adults who are complete strangers do the exact same thing. People that should know better result to name-calling and threats as they comfortably sit behind a keyboard. When kids see adults acting like this, is there any question why they are doing it themselves?
What Can the Schools Do About Bullying?
There are a few steps that school districts can take to help prevent the problem of bullying. It won’t stop it completely, but perhaps nipping it in the bud when it first starts can slow it down.
Teachers Need to Take Bullying Seriously
Remember those education classes you took back in college? Do you remember a class that focused on handling behavior issues and bullying? Neither do I. Many educators mistakenly believe they are just there to be in front of the class and impart wisdom to the kids. But instead, they need to present themselves as someone who should be feared and listened to in these situations. Don’t turn the other way or withhold your tongue simply because you are being placed in an uncomfortable situation. Those kids are depending on you to be their voice. Don’t let them down.
Administrators Must Contact the Parents
Administrators hold all the power. Unfortunately, many of them do not want to use their powers because they fear upsetting parents in the process. If bullying is happening or there is even a question about bullying taking place, call in the parents. Administrators often leave this for the teacher to do. But if you want a school without bullying, an administrator must be in the room and must back the teacher. If bullying can be proven and it is severe enough, suspend the kid that is the instigator. Giving second and third chances just won’t cut it. Come down with the hammer and let everyone know bullying will never be tolerated.
Parents Have to Take Appropriate Action
Most parents think that their child is just about perfect. Even if they know their child is definitely not this way, they still act as if they are. Parents no longer seem willing to admit their child can be difficult or make mistakes. Instead they blame the teachers, the administrator, or the school. It is time for all parents to accept the blame when their child is messing up and hold the kid responsible for their actions. If the kid’s behavior is too out of control, don’t be afraid of getting the police involved. It is better to do it now rather than later on when they could face jail time for their actions.
Put in Place an Anonymous Source “Suggestion Box”
There are very few students who will speak up for a student that is being bullied by a group of others. For one, they don’t want the attention turned on themselves. Because of this reason, there should be a box located in every classroom and every hallway where students can anonymously leave a note when they see another student getting picked on. Unfortunately, teachers cannot be everywhere and many things escape their sight. By placing these secured boxes everywhere around school, students can help keep the other students in check by reporting bullying when they see it happen.