Sunday, April 10, 2016
Does Any School, Anywhere Know How to Deal With Bullying?
http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2016/04/07/nyc-schools-bullying-lawsuit/ Bullying has been around since time immemorial and for many, many years has been completely ignored. It's been ignored, not because people don't care; it's been ignored because no one has come up with an effective way of dealing with it. When I was a kid we had very strict discipline and bullying was a covert art. It devasted many classmates that were targeted for a variety of reasons. Some were overweight or effeminate, but most were chosen because they were quiet, introverted or preceived as weak. Once targeted the bullied would have to fight back or the bullying would become more pervasive and add more participants. Often times the students saw our teachers silence as an aquiesance to the bullies behavior. Our parent(s), if they became aware of the bullying, would be apt to say something like 'toughen up and fight back, what are you afraid of?'. Most of us gladly gave up our painful adolescence and only recall those past incredibly cruel experiences when our own children or students are forced to endure bullying. Children are the same, but the bullying has become more painful, because it is now often anonymous and can have devasting results. Students don't get to see the effects of their actions, so these actions don't stop the way they may have when we were kids. Social media has given bullying a new instrument of torture. There are apps where kids can spread lies about students they envy and dislike. http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2015/01/31/5-dangerous-apps-dont-know-your-kids-are-using.html There have been many suicides due to online posts. What can schools do? First there should be no cellphones allowed into any schools, period. The current policy has been and is a complete disaster. Next victims shouldn't be punished by getting a safety transfer - the bullies should be transferred. There should be a zero tolerance policy for violence by and against students. That means arrests and/or suspensions when warranted. There should be a real policy on dealing with bullying. I have to add I don't see the same level of physical bullying I saw twenty years ago - kids seem more tolerant of all groups, other than of white kids. (I believe that's because our schools are almost completely segregated.) Restorative justice is totally unrealistic and making discipline problems worse. How do charter schools deal with bullies and discipline problems? They toss them into the public schools. This suit is political and not about protecting public school kids. It's about turning a completely ( albeit well intentioned) ridiculous policy into a weapon against DeBlasio.