high schools, should bullying be relegated to a criminal behavior in which there should be stricter penalties, even expulsion and exclusion from normal schools, instead be placed in a reformatory school, juvenile center, or even prison? Do you believe that the penalties for bullying behavior in the schools should be stricter to protect our precious children?
I think we need to stop thinking that what is happening---in terms of bullying in the present as analogous to what might have happened in the past; what might have happened when those of us who are now 50-60+ years old were in school and experienced or witnessed bullying.
Something is going wrong. Something is degrading some kids; causing some kids to engage in conduct that---when we baby boomers were in school, would have been understood as entirely unacceptable conduct.
I was just reading---about 5 minutes before I saw this forum, about a group of local middle school kids who, while on a field trip to a local college to view of play about Anne Frank, started mocking Jewish people and mocking the experiences of Frank.
The non-student members of the audience---many of whom were adults, were appalled by the students' conduct as were the teachers who accompanied their students to the performance.
As a result, the school cancelled all planned field trips for this school year including the class trip to Washington, DC.
And rather than be infuriated and shamed by their kids' conduct, parents are insisting that everybody is "over-reacting" to kids having some fun and demanding that the Washington, DC trip be reinstated.
I think, gmwilliams, in this lies the problem. It's parents who refuse to rein in kids; who refuse to discipline them; refuse to teach them respect; refuse to instill any moral values in them.
It's the parents who insist---regardless of evidence to the contrary, that their kids are misunderstood angels whose misconduct is being over-determined by zealous disciplinarians and defenders of victims.
I totally agree with your assessment of the situation. My life was inexorably affected by WWII and the holocaust as I am from the generation where relatives fought Nazism. I am also a Baby Boomer. I have been appalled at the callousness I have seen on the Internet toward Jews by this younger generation. It seems any religious group is treated like they are dirt because do much negativity is impuned to them for having beliefs.
They bullying isn't just over religious matters. Any kind of difference that makes a person stand out can be picked up by a bully and trigger some kind of negative action.
When I was a kid, the black students were bullied because they were different.
There is an approach called bullies2buddies. It encourages school bullies to become buddies with whoever they are bullying. I really like that, but also know it will only work on some of the kids. There are bullies who will not give up their power. Those kids can be far more than even adults can handle. Not sure what to suggest.
Except that the laissez faire attitude you saw in the parenting, "Oh, it's just an over reaction" is like throwing jet fuel on the fire. It's not an over reaction. It's hatred and needs to be nipped in the bud.
Hatred---real hatred, is all too often excused away in contemporary America as we are so worried that any form of "correction" ---including that of children, will in some way injure "self-esteem" or curtail "rights".
Thanks for the information on bullies2bullies.
No. Teach your children to protect themselves instead. It will not only go a long ways to solving their current problem but will stand them in good stead when they run into it as adults in the workplace and social circles.
We do NOT need another "zero tolerance" fiasco such as is seen with the gun craze, where children are expelled for cutting a "gun" out of a sheet of paper. Or bringing a cub scout folding eating utensil, including butter knife, to school for show and tell.
Let me say this as someone who is in a school building every day of the school year for the last 37 years:
Educators are not stupid.
We know the difference---as do most adults, between teasing and some bullying that can be effectively dealt with by what we call the "stinky eye" or the "teacher face" and excessive abuse and bullying that requires intervention beyond the usual "knock it off".
We know when it's gone too far; when we can't handle it within our classroom space.
What is happening---whether you accept it or not, is an increase in bullying that exceeds the "normal" crap that kids pull in school.
Something is going on.
Things have changed.
You need to spend some time at a school---kindergarten or college, it doesn't matter. Listen to the conversations. Observe the interactions.
You will, I am sure, come away shocked and wondering what the HECK is going on!
I agree. In 1994, my research group found that the Number One problem in our county's schools, preschools, and daycare centers is violence. Such violence has worsened since that time (20 years), with more young children K through 8 carrying weapons to school and using them against other children and adults in the Central Ohio county.
People who are not in the classrooms and/or associated closely with education---whether K-12 or college, have NO idea of the stuff that's going on and how violent kids are becoming.
They imagine it's the kid stuff of their youth; the teasing that gets a little out of control; the in-group/out-group bickering. They have no idea of the level of violence---interpersonal violence and abuse that is part of the daily routine of some kids.
Do you then feel that teaching kids to handle emotional bullying is the wrong thing to do? That we should institute to called-for zero tolerance policy and kick any kid calling names out of school?
Should we be putting massive efforts (doomed to failure) into stopping all (emotional, not physical) bullying and ignore the concept of self control?
Bullying should be criminalized and bullies punished up with severe disciplinary penalities including expulsion. Children who are bullies should be separated from normal children who are well-behaved and want to learn. Bullies should be placed into I.S. schools, reformatories, or juvenile detention facilities. For acts of egregious bullying depending upon age, imprisonment is in order. There should be ZERO tolerance for bullying and school authorities should apply such measures by the book.
You would really expel and maybe jail an 8 year old for telling someone they are fat? Or ugly?
Because that's where the whole Bullying thing is headed; into the same insanity of the zero tolerance crap in the schools.
No, the bully should be taught empathy; however, the more severe the bullying, the more severe the discipline should be!
1) you cannot teach a bully empathy.
2) with the comment about severity of discipline the zero tolerance just went out the window.
3) What's wrong with teach kids a little self control? How about teaching then how to handle bullies? It would surely be a LOT more effective than trying to teach a bully about empathy!
When my sons were little (they're five years apart) there were a couple of kids in each of their classes that "were problems" for a lot of the other kids. (A vice-principal in my suburban, middle-class, school system once said that it's about 10% of the kids who are problems to one degree or another; and 90% don't bother anyone. Of course, this was years ago.)
Anyway, the problem for my sons was that they, like a lot of the other kids, were nice kids who didn't bother anyone. They were, however, slightly built boys who were emotionally/socially mature enough. Both of them explained to me their frustration in dealing with the occasional bullying incident. They both said, "If I wanted to REALLY, SERIOUSLY, hurt him I could, but I don't want to because he's a kid. Neither of my sons wanted to "really, seriously" (as in cause serious harm) hurt another child. So, because they were smaller, and the bullies could give them a hard time (and hurt them but not "seriously, REALLY" (as in cause serious head injury or internal injuries, etc.) more easily because a) they were bigger than my sons, and b) it would have taken my sons resorting to escalating the type of violence/potential harm in order to get the better of the bully. Both boys said, "I get so mad because he THINKS I can't really hurt him. I could if I wanted to, but I don't want to seriously hurt a kid." (if for no reason other than not wanting to find themselves in trouble with the law for seriously harming another child; but also my sons DID have empathy and knew that some of the bullies were either just kind of "goony and stupid", or else they were kids who came from awful homes.
My son's saw themselves as fortunate for having the kind of family they had; and being emotionally mature they did, at least at times, feel bad for SOME of the bullies.
I wasn't bullied as a child (mostly because I was a really small, young-looking, girl who wasn't a threat to anyone and who knew how to tone down some things in order not to "bring wrath". As an adult, however (particularly once all the friends and relatives and I were having our families and SOME people thought they knew better than I how to do things), I found myself the target of emotional/verbal bullies on a fairly regular basis. Some of them didn't even mean it. They just thought they knew better. (Beverly Engel and Patricia Evans are two authors who do a good job of covering all the types of/reasons for emotional/verbal bullying.)
It's the same with emotional/verbal bullying, though, as it was for my sons: I could have put an end to it if I had been willing to REALLY hurt/anger someone in a personal relationship (it doesn't go on so much at work when people keep their personal lives/selves "limited" and only deal with others on a professional basis). So, because I didn't want to either REALLY and SERIOUSLY cause emotional pain to someone who didn't really mean to bully (or else to someone who did mean to bully but was kind of naively "thrilled with him/herself" but had clearly been hurt in some way as a child; and because I didn't want to brutally and harshly "hit below the emotional belt" and destroy x number of personal relationships; I just saw each of these "small incidents" as "not really mattering".. As a result, I let quite a few people get away with thinking they were superior to me and that I was inferior.
So, the real point here (and one that far too few people seem to understand) is that it is compassion, empathy, understanding, strength, or even not wanting to destroy families over what seems like small stuff) are things that amount to a lot of bullies getting away with a lot of bad behavior. But, what's the answer? Tell your eight-old, nice, little, boy to bash the bully's head with a rock or kick him a few times in the abdomen? OR, to tell someone, "Well, wait until all of our kids grow up, and let's see who's right and who's wrong - but in the meantime, I wouldn't give you two cents for your kid, and here's why?" The world is full of families in which that kind of brutal honesty goes on all the time, and that's often what destroys families, little by little, over stupid misunderstandings and over small issues that don't really matter (as long as one's own kids aren't subjected to the ideas of some of those other people).
I can tell you first-hand that the only way to stop a bully is to "REALLY, SERIOUSLY" hurt them; and if you're not willing to do that (and most people are not) there is no middle-ground, other way, to stop them. The only answers, without having someone else intervene and set the bully straight one way or another, is to stay away from them completely (and kids in school can't do that, because bullies come looking for them).
Personally, with school kids, I think there should be a reporting/write-up system that allows for a couple of incidents (if they aren't too bad). Kids do stupid things sometimes. But, if a kid gets more than x number of write-ups then the school should call in Social Services and let them figure out why the kid is a chronic problem for however many other kids in the school.
+1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 in agreement, especially with the last statement. Children with a history of bullying should have write ups and a paper trail established on them, like a problematic employee in the corporate world. After a number of write ups for bullying behavior, he/she should be expelled from the school and be relegated to school specified for bullies such as I.S. schools. If the bully becomes more problematic, he/she will most likely be placed in a reformatory or juvenile facility and so on. Even so many people refuse to acknowledge it, bullying is WRONG and is criminal behavior which should not be taken lightly. It must be stopped by any means necessary.
Except, that if you put a "bad" kid in an I.S. school or a juvenile facility what comes out is a very bad adult. So, unless you are willing to say that a 13 year old kid is just destined to be a criminal, this idea sucks. Juvenile facilities don't fix anything. They are just somewhere to put kids to keep them out of society's hair. In doing this, we actually build mini-cultures composed solely of "bad" kids. They live, eat, and learn together outside of the influence of normal interaction. In short, they sit around in a closed environment, learning only from each other.
Am I seriously the only one who has a problem with this?
Why are we so gung-ho on protecting one group of children while being so eager to throw another group away? I mean, they're all kids...right? You don't throw a kid away because he is doing something wrong. You teach them.
We have an obligation, at least in the part of the US where I live, to make schools welcoming and friendly environments; to make them safe spaces for children.
Historically, children were violent or aggressive were removed from schools and dealt with in whatever ways were appropriate to their particular problem. If this mean "reform school", then it mean reform school.
And guess what, it worked.
No, it didn't. It got bad kids out of teacher's hair. It helped to produce the generation of adults currently in jail.
I don't understand how you, as a teacher, are so willing to just say "Screw them, they are what they are and that's all they will ever be."
Do you even like children? Or do you only like the "good" ones?
Whether you believe it or not OR whether you like it or not OR whether you agree with it or not reform schools did work---and did work for many kids.
And for the record: Most reform schools closed long before young adults now in the prison populations got to kindergarten.
No they didn't. They were renamed "Juvenile facilities" or "Alternative Learning Centers" depending on how bad the kid is.
They offer inferior education, inferior teachers, and social interaction with other individuals with the same problems only. They produce exactly the same results as "Reform Schools" Angry, socially-stunted uneducated adults.
They work for lazy teachers and principals that just want to make their lives easier. They work for over-burdened parents with few resources and no support who don't know what else to do.
For the kids? Yeah, they don't work at all. For society? Not there either.
Certaintly DID, it acted as a deterrent to the other bullies who wised up and realize that they had better behave themselves. or they would face the same.
Yes, just like the prison system acts like a deterrent. With exactly the same results to those who have been "taught their lesson". I just wouldn't think anyone would want to do it to children. I guess it makes complete sense to emotionally scar one child to keep another child from being emotionally scarred. Especially since statistically, those children are the most likely to have been abused at home, come from a poor, uneducated background, and have psychological problems.
Society is going to throw them away anyway. Why not start when they are children? That will teach them their lesson. That way, the middle class and wealthy children with good homes can get the education to which only they are entitled. Those children are much easier to handle any way... they don't disrupt a teacher's coffee break.
We have reporting systems and we use them.
Unfortunately, they do not work in any meaningful and long-term way.
The bullies' parents call in lawyers and/or other community activists and the invariably their children "win" and are returned to school.
In fact, by the time lawyers and activists are done, the victims are usually the ones being punished.
I know that with the fairly recent "bullying awareness thing", things are different now than when my kids were in school; but - really - there were absolutely no reporting systems then. In fact, I suspect the reason school authorities either thought "it's just what kids do" or else didn't do anything about it was that a) some of them actually WERE "bully-thinking" themselves. I saw, for myself, one principal humiliate a sixth-grade boy over some minor thing in the hall of the school, where I was standing and waiting to pick up my own child. The principle was an old-school type who thought (essentially) that treating this boy as he did was "cool" (for lack of a better word).
In another school the problem was more that they either just thought it was all kids stuff or knew better than to contact the parents of chronically aggressive kids. In fact, I suspect they may have worried that the parents might be aggressive towards the child if they did.
The guy I mentioned above was principal when my son was in school. There was a kid or two who were out-and-out aggressive. This guy told me "Unfortunately, kids are cruel. One of these days _____ (my son) is going to let one of these kids have it, and I'll say, 'Good for you, ______!'". Well, I didn't think that turning my son into the same kind of kid that these loser-kids were was my idea of "good for you".
By "write-up" system I'm not talking about only when kids are thirteen and ganging up on another kid for one reason or another. I'm talking about when kids are in elementary school and it isn't common for kids to do things like poke a hole in another kids' arm with a pencil on the bus (and if it's not that then some other thing that just isn't what normal kids and/or kids from questionable parents do).
Of the youngest kids (elementary school) there's a good chance that even the nicest kid might do something "on the aggressive side", but if they're told it why that's wrong they most likely won't do something like that again. All kids mess up. Most don't make a habit of it, whether or not anyone makes "a deal" about it (writing them up, letting the parents know, talking to them about it, etc.). "Making a deal" about it to a kid who leans more toward being regularly aggressive could go a long way in a) stopping SOME kids whose parents simply haven't taught them better from never learning any better; and b) send the clear message that any aggressive behavior toward other kids isn't acceptable and won't be tolerated by anyone in "the outside world" (like school). A lot of kids would learn that their parents way of behaving/doing things wasn't how the rest of the world does things.
The few kids who engaged in aggressive, more anti-social, behavior on a fairly regularly basis wouldn't get "absorbed" into the "kids are just cruel picture", and maybe there'd be some chance that they'd get the right kind of intervention in those early school years (instead of growing up with whatever anger, pain, bad "guidance", they have; and having all that mixed in once they're teens (especially boys), and hormones get mixed in with whatever mental issues these kids have (and then in the mix goes all the stuff like drug use, violent video games, and whatever else).
Something like a policy that three write-ups within x amount of time in the earliest grades (which would still allow for a certain amount of "sort of normal-ish" bad behavior in kids who are "just kind of more aggressive and probably always will be") might get outside help (Social Services - not the parents' bringing their kids to a private therapist and having him diagnosed with something based on what the parents and/or school says; because sometimes kids have loser parents, or at least clueless parents; who don't even know what they're seeing in their child is that they're doing something wrong (and schools can't be/shouldn't expected to deal with kids who have mental problems that come from a child's ignorant and/or abusive parents).
Well, one of the "main problem kids" at one of my own kids' elementary school is (based on what someone told me) dead now because his father burned down the house in which his mother, he and his little brother were sleeping). They had moved, so it didn't show up on our news (or else I missed it). All I know is that it didn't take a whole lot for a normal person to look at those two little boys who were most often wearing black clothes and had a general "touch" look (at eight/six years old) , and to know that this kid was doing some of "not-standard" things he was doing, to figure out that there was something seriously wrong going on there.
Little kids may mess up or be mean here or there, but most of them just aren't aggressive or mean at, say, six or seven years old. They just aren't, and it really stands out when one is. BUT, a general policy that starts when kids are really young wouldn't just get the minority who are truly disturbed (or else headed that way), but would establish better guidelines for the kids who will one day be thirteen and more likely to be drawn into some of the nastiness that can go on when kids are immature, insecure, etc.
I agree. We need to establish guidelines on Day #1 of kindergarten and make sure that they uniformly enforced across the board---all students, all grades, etc.
What is troubling to me is the resistance from parents to not only establishing guidelines, but enforcing them.
Well, being a kind person went out of fashion when "everyone" decided that being kind is only useful to mothers of babies and preschoolers; and when the same "everyone" also decided that being kind couldn't possibly also mean being smart and/or earning much money.
So, the people with the best nurturing skills have either become seen as "nice but not impressive or worth listening to" (once a child gets to be school age); and with a Women's Movement that told women if they wanted to be "equal" they had to act like men (who haven't exactly straightened out this world over the course of history), and if they wanted to "make money" they should go to into some "non-traditional field" , the general message has been (again) that being kind only comes in handy for mothers of babies and preschoolers; but "in the real world" what is valued is who/what makes the most money in the most "up-and-coming" line of work
There are (at least in our country) a whole lot of people who pretty much still think that being kind (different from "at least behaving as if one is nice, which is a whole different thing) is for mothers and for preschoolers; but beyond that there's not much else that being kind if good for in terms of respect and or being valued (beyond just taking care of babies and small children, and "taking care of" is sometimes very different from "truly nurturing", which means nurturing a child's brain connections and not just his ability to say his ABC's or use a computer at two and a half).
Unfortunately these kids that have deep issues do struggle with empathy. It does them no good to miss out on the right help. And schools aren't geared for that.
We should probably boil them in oil too, just to be safe.
Bullying has been around since the beginning of time.
It is not a new phenomena within the school system.
But it has risen in the school system because we have removed God from the curriculum.
With the creation of large schools that mix many elements together, the system has created a cavernous eruption of bullying.
Media has shown that individuals and even groups must be challenged by those being bullied if we expect it to stop. This was shown in the several Nerd movies of the 80's.
Until the heroes rise up to quell the bullying, it will continue regardless of legal action taken.
The government should begin to appropriately support the hero rather than support the lawless. We should demand that no hero is charged or sued when they are protecting themselves or other good people in our society.
Everyone should demand the law follow - "Make my Day, Punk".
Bullying is MUCH WORSE than it was decades ago. There is something evil and dangerously perilous here. Children seem to have no remorse nor empathy regarding their bad behavior. Discipline have to be more stringently applied up to and including expulsion and exclusion of the bully from the regular school system. Bullies should be separated from the normal population and placed into reformatories, juvenile detention centers, and if necessary, prisons. Bullying should be deemed for what it is a criminal act for which there SHOULD be punishment.
In the work world, if a person incessantly bullies others, he/she would be disciplined, including firing if the act is incessant enough. Many bosses have been taken to task by the unions and sometimes other superiors for bullying employees. Some have been met with massive lawsuits. Most of the time, the only time when bullying is somewhat permitted is in the prison system. Even in the prison system, there are checks regaring bullying among prisoners.
We should not be arguing this without making a clear distinction between kids who bully, but who can be reformed and kids who bully who cannot be reformed with reasonable intervention by clinical therapists. And that isn't even the responsibility of schools. But the bullies2buddies program is designed to help with that. .
If the bully will not respond to such programs, then that bully is in a different category. If there is a persistent pattern of bullying and no interest in giving up the power bullying brings, then it is a much deeper problem.
Bullies who are so mean and have such deep control issues that they are beyond the resources of a teacher and school to handle. There are family systems that inflame these problems with their children. Perpetuate them one way or another. Those are very complicated family systems.
I don't know how those children can be integrated into a normal school environment. I do not believe it is the school's problem. At that point the parents need to work with some other institution to help their child. Schools were never designed to handle such extreme behavioral problems.
I have to 100% agree with wilderness, teach your children to defend themselves. There are always going to be bullies/jerk offs in the world, just like gmwilliams previous post about being fired, when something like this happens your just going to lay down and take it until someone comes along and helps you?? Life is hard and will always have trials and tribulations, you cant put your hand out for help with every little speed bump. I was always taught, it's like the law of the jungle, you either kill or be killed. Survival of the fittest.
I think some of you hit the nail on the head that bullying might be a lot worse than it was back when we were kids though. I mean think about it. How many cases do you know of where kids shot up their classmates out of retaliation for being bullied like in the Columbine incident? How many suicides were going on back then when you were kid over being a victim of bullying?
The reality is whether we choose to accept it or not, bullying is getting out of hand. And with the over population of public schools, it's becoming a lot harder for teachers to maintain control of their students. And there's a lot of teenagers that are becoming parents these days, whom don't often make the best parents. Plus unlike the old days, most families don't have the luxury of a stay at home parental figure to instill discipline in their kids, due to the economy being what it is. The reality is most parents (not citing anyone here of course) don't have time to really instill values in their own children anymore like the old days.
Therefore, something NEEDS to change because I honestly don't want to live in a world where we see victims of bullies start to shoot up their own classmates out of retaliation, nor do I want to keep hearing stories about some kid killing himself because he couldn't stand being bullied anymore. It needs to stop.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we should institute any zero tolerance policies that would require an 8 year old kid to go to jail over calling some other kid fat or stupid. No, what I mean is if parents don't seem to have the time to talk to kids about coping with bullies, then maybe it's about time the school system teaches kids about it more openly. I mean it's obvious with over population and the economy being what it is, most parents don't seem to have the time to teach these things to their own kids; which would explain the suicides these days. therefore, why not the schools then?
Because, in this Curmudgeon's opinion, it is just one more step along the road that has brought us to this point... abdication of responsibility. And that road has at least two lanes, the other being the diminishing of the expectation of personal responsibility.
Raising children and teaching them societal norms is not the responsibility of schools, even if the parents don't - educating them is.
I hear you. Once upon a time we used to be able to focus on academics in the classroom, but alas, times have changed.
Do you know that college business programs now need to have what we call "etiquette dinners" in which faculty have dinner with students---REQUIRED or they don't graduate dinners held on-campus business and professional dinners, during which we have to teach the students how to hold and use eating utensils; how chew with their mouths closed; how to converse without profane and obscene language; how to behave like something close to young professionals?
Do you know that we have to teach students---students about to graduate from college, to wear professional clothes to interviews and drill them repeatedly about not constantly dropping the "f-bomb" at job interviews?
This is unbelievable, but true.
Totally unbelievable, this world has indeed regressed. Teaching young adults the skills which should have been taught by parents and in elementary school. What is happening to the concept of family dynamics? Please TELL ME!
Would those dinner students you referred to even have the grades to graduate if the grading system was what it was in "our day?"
The schools need to be held accountable. The schools themselves are causing bullying. Teachers are bullying the students in accordance to the predominant style of teaching. They are tyrannizing over the kids even though they do not really mean to. They are only teaching according to how they were taught to teach.
There is little room for true kindness and respect. I have seen it. From the principals down to the aides. The custodians are probably the kindest adult to locate for help.
The universities are dispensing policies of tyranny and the teachers are tyrannized as well. Do you know how hard it is to become a teacher? By the time a teacher-canidate jumps through all the hoops required by the university and state in becoming a teacher... he has no soul left.
Am I right?
I hope not.
Wow, that is a cold picture of school staff. If that is happening, I feel sad for how the school system has changed over the years. I remember when teachers felt their influence could change a child for the better in life. That was part of the reason they became teachers. But it sounds like some schools are not that warm anymore. I am sure not all schools are that way. But if even a few are it would be a sad situation.
In every profession there are some bad apples; some bullies; some tyrants, but to caricature teachers and school administrators is just plain wrong and totally inaccurate.
I am sorry, but every day all over American skilled and loving and caring men and women go to classrooms and do a great job. They care about "their kids" as they invariably call them---whether teaching kindergarten or college.
Were you not on the planet last year and aware of the fact that in Connecticut teachers and administrators died in classrooms to save the lives of their students. And this was not the first OR the last time that teachers have died or been injured defending and protecting their students.
You owe teachers and administrators an apology.
As for making teaching training tough: It needs to be. Almost 40 years ago when I was certified to teach in New York State it was tough. I needed to be. Teaching is an important job and it needs to be done by the best and the brightest AND by those willing to jump through all the hoops in order to be teachers.
One problem, I think, is that somewhere along the way a whole lot of people have just allowed society, other people, companies with products to sell (whoever/whatever) to define what childhood is. More accurately, to "establish" that "kids just grow up faster these days" and then just passively go along with that thinking.
So there's more and more kids coming along who are in a lot of ways a lot more knowledgeable (about the right things) when they're little, and who create the impression that they're "more grown up" than people of previous times; but then, emotionally,/developmentally, not only do kids pretty much develop as the same rate as kids always have; but now a whole lot of stuff they aren't ready for is dumped on and/or expected of them; so in so many ways, we have a real mess on our hands when it comes to a lot of kid-related issues.
Not all bullying falls into one neat, clean, package (which is, I suppose, why those lawyers are sometimes called in). Personally, I think thirteen-year-old kids (and kids in some similar age range) should be "severely limited" in how much time they have on the Internet and/or what kind of sites they can get on.
Are you blaming feminism for bullying?
No feminist ever told any woman to behave like men in order to exercise our God-given rights as free and equal and self-determining beings---without reference to the sex of our bodies.
And no feminist ever told women that being "kind" was reserved for mothers of babies and preschoolers or that in the so-called "real world" women need to be mean-spirited.
I'm not blaming Feminism for bullying, and as someone who would be considered "a feminist" (if that term is even really "a thing" these days), I'm not in favor of all the things that once meant women couldn't "be equal" in life or in work.
But, I'm old enough to recall the height of the feminist movement, and women, were, in fact, essentially told they had to act like men in a whole lot of ways if they ever hoped to be seen as equal. The "big message" for young women in, say, the early seventies (and I was in my late teens/early twenties around then) was that they essentially had to choose between "being a traditional woman" (which meant the whole, obnoxious, fifties-mother kind of thing) or being an "up-and-coming career woman". Then, the whole thing about having babies was often turned into a whole "Earth mother" type of image/message that involved thing like talking about "Earth goddess mothers" (stuff from things like mythology; you "had to be there" to really know what I mean). So, at that time, the "having-babies thing" was acknowledged but only valued in terms of whether or not it's good for there to be one sex that has the next generation of human beings.
(Well, in the eighties - and separate from The Women's Movement - people like career counselors/authors told women that if they wanted to be taken serious they needed to make their voices sound less high because "people take a deeper voice more seriously". And, that's true; but this was the eighties. You'd think people would have figured out that having a woman's voice (if one had a "smaller"/higher voice) could/should include be taken seriously. This is a small example.
I'm saying that for all the good that has come out of both The Women's Movement and the "age of technology", x amount of ideas have either been destructive in some ways or else have, of the course of the forty or so years, been twisted or exaggerated to the point that with each generation/group that has come along we've at this point been kind of taken off in a very damaging, destructive, direction that means we have a whole lot of people (kids, men, women, families, school systems, whatever) who either haven't had the benefit of some of those important things that were lost; or else who actually have but as a result are either misunderstood or else bucking a whole lot of other people who have not had that same benefit.
And, it hasn't helped that there are things like books that list off sets of "ways of thinking" and assigns them to "how women think and communicate" and "how men think and communicate" - and then generally seeing all those things in "the women's column" as "weak" or "fluffy" or otherwise not very useful in the workplace (unless, of course, someone is in a career that's traditionally been associated with women).
Ok...I hear you.
Sometimes we all need to just ignore the "isms" and the "isms" activists and be who were are supposed to be. I think the world would be a much better and happier place.
The trouble, at that time, was that the activists were right. There wouldn't have been a whole lot of the changes for women that there have been if it weren't for them. So many of them had to be "loud-mouthed" and aggressive in order to be heard. The trouble was that "nice-girl syndrome" became something that either wasn't always understood correctly; and too many people essentially saw "nice" as "passive" or "weak" when sometimes understanding what it takes to build healthy children and hold families together through the rough times requires a logical, strong, understanding of human nature and child development; as well as common sense. I mean... telling women that wearing bras is about "male oppression" or that wearing make-up is the same thing either lacks common sense or understanding about why people might want to wear either of those things.
Really (and whether it was forty years ago or now) a whole lot of women who were not aggressive, or at least "a little aggressive-ish", had to choose between being seen as a feminist or seen as "traditional (the whole "fifties wife/mother thing"); and those who didn't, wouldn't, or couldn't essentially "chose" to be invisible.
The trouble with that (obviously) is that strong, smart, women who also happen to kind/nice and aren't willing to change in order to "gain power in the workforce" . So (and back to the bullying thing), a lot of those invisible women either have no power or aren't listened to when it comes to nurturing babies and children (and it's only recently that Science has caught up with (and sees and understands) the importance of attachment and nurturing in the first few years of life, as far as how things like empathy and compassion being nurtured goes).
It's not, though, that a lot of mothers/parents haven't done a good job of nurturing compassion and empathy in their children over the last forty years. It's more, I think, that those children of more recent years can have a harder time thriving in (and sometimes fitting in well and/or functioning) in school systems that (or even workplaces) that still cling to those less-than-ideal values that primarily became "worshiped" by people who aren't as much " in the know" as they should be/need to be. So that's kind of where I think all the bullying of one sort another has gotten its roots.
Agreed. Why should a kid who assaults another child either get away with it because no aldult saw it? Or, why should penalties be like write "I will be nice" fifty times be used. When I child is bullied, you have two problems. The first is the bullie who will only get worse and the 2nd is a victim who may take his anger out in violent ways.
When I was young, teachers were in the halls and on the school grounds keeping an eye on this stuff. Now the teachers union has made it so they can't sit in there rooms and ignore the screams.
Were you also away from the planet last year when teachers and administrators in a Connecticut school responded to the screams of their students in hallways and classrooms and gave their lives to defend those children?
The indictment of teachers in the forum is, to be entirely honest, shameful AND a symptom of the real problem behind the increasing problem of bullying: Parents and other adults who refuse to hold kids responsible for anything---including their own conduct, and who knee-jerk blame teachers and administrators for everything.
See the thing is, the bullying is happening on teacher's watch... not in the home of the parents. So yes, you have responsibility for what happens in your halls and your classrooms. And no, you don't get to shirk that responsibility by sending away all those CHILDREN who might make your day harder.
To be honest, the opinions you have expressed in this thread-as a teacher-are one of the reasons that I home-school. Those with the attitude that children are disposable shouldn't be responsible for a classroom of them.
The hatefulness show in this thread towards CHILDREN is astounding. It's sickening really. There are a thousand things that could be done to address bullying. The knee-jerk reaction is blaming the parents for everything (including the school system's failure to monitor it's own pupils) and throwing the children away... and with a spite that is really alarming.
I shared the reformatory suggestion with a few of my friends who ARE teachers, they were appalled. Of course they actually pursued the career because they liked children, all of them, even the ones with problems.
I am sorry Melissa, if a child is willingly a bully, he/she does not deserve any sympathy whatsoever. Bullies cause irreparable psychologically and emotional damage to the victim. These bullies are not innocent children; in fact, they can be classified as less than innocent.
They should be called and taken to task and punished/disciplined depending upon the severity of the bullying. Yes, they are children but they are acting in ways that are atypical of children. Tell that to parents whose children are bullied.
I have no iota of sympathy for school bullies. They should be disciplined/punished for their actions and if that includes permanent expulsion from school and placed in an I.S. school or reformatory setting, so be it. Bullies as far as I am concerned have lost their membership to the club of children. They AREN'T children!
See, I was under the impression that all children deserve sympathy, especially the broken ones. I was also under the impression that children are not adults and shouldn't be held to adult standards. I was also under the impression that you TEACH children, not punish them. I was also under the impression that all children are innocent unless something happens to them to make them lose that innocence. I'm also sure that if they were expressing the feelings from whatever happened to them by crying, everyone would be all weepy and loving... but since they are showing anger-generally over a situation that anyone would be angry about-then screw them.
So basically, if they can't handle their problems (as children who are not developmentally able to handle those problems) then we should say screw 'em and spitefully destroy the rest of their lives-because we have no sympathy for them.
I just don't understand having two kids that are hurting, protecting one of them and throwing the other one away. I guess playing favorites to the one that's most loveable works like that.
Really, I am seriously appalled by the lynch mob aimed at children.
A group of parents, teachers and assorted other adults gather together to discuss bullying and the very best solution that anyone can come up with is reformatory school. Were you ALL bullied in school and now feel the need to take out your aggression on the children that remind you of it? I'm just not understanding.
Not children... because they aren't acting the way they should? Seriously, not children? Damn.
While a few bullies are broken children and come from abusive, neglectful, and dysfunctioning environment and thus need psychological help and intervention, many bullies are just.......MEAN and have no conscious. Yes, there are evil children out there. These children come from well-functioning environments with caring parents.
However, these children are what one would call bad seeds. These children gleefully love to pick on others. There are children who are naturally dominant and believe in asserting their dominance by any means necessary. Yes, there are children who are just........BRATS and they need to be put in place!
Yes, there are mean children out there who really do not give one fig about the feelings of other children. Have you heard of mean girls and boys who routinely ostracize other children who they deem to be less than either in looks, smarts, and/or other variables. There are some children who just AREN'T pleasant and they come from loving, functioning homes.
You seriously believe that there are children who were just born cruel and evil? That from birth they will never be anything but malignant spots on society? That we shouldn't do anything about them when we find them except throw them in kiddie jail until they are old enough to go to adult jail?
And I find the idea of putting any child "in their place" repugnant. It sounds petty, domineering and vengeful. It sounds-well- like being a bully.
I agree, Melissa. Children are born with innocence, joy and love of life. This must be protected and can be restored. Children must be treated with kindness. Those in Columbine who ended up shooting… too bad at least one teacher did not act proactively enough. Even one alarmed and caring teacher/adult could have detected and addressed something going psychologically awry with one or both of them to prevent what happened.
I don't "believe" that some children are born with tendencies toward aggressive behavior. I know it---and I know it from facts and evidence presented by scientific studies.
Science---scientific research, is making it clear that some people are born with complex psychological and cognitive structures that contribute to the exhibition of aggressive behaviors in childhood and adulthood.
Wait - you don't believe kids are born that way and science shows they are born that way???? Something went wrong in that verbiage! (Or in me...)
Contribute. I have a gene that would "contribute" to me being an alcoholic. Yet, I don't drink. I suppose if the first time I drank (or second, or third time) someone would have freaked out and punished me by confining me to a bar with nothing but alcoholics to keep me company, things might be a little different. Especially if I was 12 or 13 years old and not developmentally able to control impulses on an adult level.
You are kidding right---that bullying does not take place in the home.
Of the people I know who were bullied---it occurred IN their family homes and was done by their siblings and parents.
If the bullying takes place in the home, that's not bullying, that's domestic violence and CPS needs to be involved. If it takes place in a school where teachers and administrators have the responsibility to actually supervise the children, then they should be fired. Period. If people hand their children over to you and expect them to be safe, and you fail in that, then that is your failure. It happened on your watch.
Studies have repeatedly substantiated that bullying does occur in the home. There are parents who bully their children. There are spouses who bully each other. Siblings routinely bully and play upmanship with each other on a constant basis.
Siblings routinely indulge in verbal bullying. However, physical bullying is not uncommon among siblings. Oldest children bully younger siblings to establilsh preeminence and power. They also bully younger siblings for revenge for what the younger siblings did to them or because the former were punished for what the latter did. Middle children bully in order to establilsh a sense of self while youngest children bully to get others to do his/her bidding. The parent-child, husband-wife, and sibling bullying scenario is an intricate affair.
So we should be going into homes, removing those siblings and placing them in reformatory schools?
Not at all, in this case, there has to be psychological intervention. If the case is analyzed, the respective family is referred to a psychologist that can nip the underlying and present problem from the inception. Many bullies are not extreme and they need counselling either through a school psychologist or an educational psychologist. If the family belongs to a church or synagogue, perhaps a rabbi, minister, and/or priest can intervene and talk to the bully. Only when the bully is very unrepentant, pathological, or actually enjoys tormenting others and does not wish to improve, then more drastic measures must be taken!
Actually, when that happened in Conn. I was at the school where I teach. I have over 20 years of watching what goes on in schools. As a special educator i go to great lengths to see to it my kids do not get bullied or teased. I do hold them accountable. That is why I said the kids should NOT get away with it. However, in Maryland, contracts are negotiated that have teachers doing less each year. Thus, the apathy of some of those I work with.
Well let me speak of my experiences, I have had arthritis all my life, but in school, you could not admit it. So I my wrists broken 6 times, they called me poof, fag, made me live in fear so often, that I couldn't focus on my studies. Which was their purpose, to dumb down everyone, so much that no one would notice that dad's abuse, had turned them into idiots. Mum of course was there to facilitate, enable the behavior, then I left school, for the boarding houses, pubs, caravan parks. I'd see these people, with a sense of entitlement, man children, the agencies would say but you don't have psycho social issues, so we won't help you (I lacked a criminal record.) It took me 20 years to get on the disability pension, because I would live on my ration, accept the home imprisonment that comes with a life sentence below the poverty line. Yes, I have little sympathy for the bully, as they would constantly try to steal from me, punch me in the face for being disabled and old. But how does it help them to admire them for their bullying, doesn't it just mean that they become criminals and threaten poor cripples like me.
Actually life is full of bullies for all of us all the time. You might think you are bullied because of your disabilities etc. but believe me you are also bullied in life when you are kind and nice, when you are young and pretty, when you are healthy and quiet or smart and sociable, when you are thin and shy, when your are thin and sexy, when you are short and cute, when you are tall and svelte. The bullies are those who have no good-will. They are the ones who have been misunderstood, who have been beaten down and shoved down by someone else somewhere along the line in their own sad lives. They got away with it once, twice and again and again and no one told them "no" firmly enough or more importantly asked them WHY?
If anyone saw an attractive young lady being threatened, they'd go to their aid. Of course at home it's different, they can get away with a lot, because that's how they've been programmed. But an old man hobbling around, oh well, that's OK, no one has to help, it's the code of the schoolyard. Oh if their in a wheelchair, well that's not fair, but if you call the police, say you've been punched in the face. They'll say to themselves, he lives in a boarding house, so must be a druggie, doesn't matter if you show them your qualifications, have no criminal record. If the person assaulting them, has criminal convictions for assault, if the victim was high up in Neighborhood watch. No matter, let's ask the criminally insane surrounding him, oh no were not preying on him, we haven't learned this behavior at home as children, in the schoolyard, in prison. We're not predators, no, no and a couple of days later, they're banging on your door, empowered, emboldened by getting away with it. So you wind up homeless, asking for emergency accommodation, being refused, but you don't have any psycho social problems (lacking in the criminal records,) so we won't help. Meanwhile back at the boarding house, he's got amphetamine psychosis, from smoking ice again and everyone is living in fear, especially the sick and old. Once again how do we help even the perpetrators, by enabling this behavior, you haven't even said what happens to the disabled is wrong. You've just said life would be awful for you, if you were attractive and so healthy you were skinny. No it wouldn't, life would be much better, it would be easier to get accommodation, a job. Imagine Sheldon from the Big Bang theory, not a genius, older, disabled, lacking experience, trying to get a roof over their head, or a job.
Having had my share of bullying, I would say it's better to just teach kids that bullying is not cool. It is a school, so they can probably figure out a way to educate them on why bullying isn't bad.
the last phrase was a typo. I mean't, "why bullying is bad."
That is a wonderful thought indeed.
We like to think children would see the beauty of being in harmony, the dignity and respect they can share with each other. But not all children are moved by those ideas. The hard hitting bully types probably won't appreciate it. And they are the ones who create havoc.
Unless a person has ever encountered a kid like that they will struggle to relate to how that can be. But it can. And it causes horrible problems for teachers and students.
@Grand Old Lady............sometime after they are taught that nice pretty stuff.......they need to go to a martial arts class so they can handle themselves. Also, Martial arts instructors routinely teach that being a bully is wrong and not according to the discipline.
I agree. Learning self defense like martial arts that stresses discipline rather than bullying builds character as well as strength of body and mind. I read in a book before that Jackie Kennedy saw her son, JFK Jr., being bullied and she enrolled him in a martial arts school because of it.
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