Facts about Bullying
Consider a few statistics from James Burns, an educational speaker and trainer who runs Proactive Behavioral - Management:
Sixty percent of middle school students admit to having been bullied
Thirty percent of students of those who say they have been bullied felt the need to bring weapons to school
The incarceration rate of bullies is much higher than that of their peers by the age of 24
A bully is five times more likely to have a serious criminal record as an adult
Two thirds of students who are bullied eventually become the bullies themselves
The average child has watched 8,000 televised murders and 100,000 acts of violence during their years in elementary school
Schools that offer bullying programs demonstrate that bullying is reduced by 50 percent.
Bullying was a contributing factor in two thirds of the 37 school shootings reviewed by the U.S. Secret Service
Impact of bullies
I live and teach at the elementary level in the district where the young teen boy, Jamie Rodemeyer,committed suicide due to years of bullying. I cannot even begin to share how this young man’s turmoil has touched our lives in this area of the world. I also know his pain has had far reaching effects.
My own daughter attended the same high school. She began college this year and I thank God everyday for helping her to get through those high school teen years. You see, she too was bullied. I recall days when she would cry and come to me so sad that she could barely cope due to the way that the other girls would torment her. That continued a good deal through her freshman year of high school. She forbade me from calling the school as she believed it would only get worse. She assured me that students are great at doing this behind teachers' backs. She felt certain that if I contacted the school things would only beocme worse for her, as if the tormenters knew that she had confided in any adults in the school, they would raise the bar. In addition, my daughter refused to share the names of the children who were doing this to her as she truly feared the repercussions. The children believe there is a code of ethics of not being a "rat" even when it means that you remain a victim.
I will share that I contacted the school in spite of her objections and asked them to be very discreet, which I knew they would be. To this day my child does not know that I contacted the school and it did not make things worse. The situation, in fact, slowly improved.
Educate about bullying
We try to educate children that if they witness bullying to confide in an adult. However, children are afraid to stand up to the bullies, as they fear that the bullying will be turned on them. Thus, much of what goes on remains hidden from the adults who care and would take action.
You're Not Alone
North High School Teen Suicide
Teachers and staff care very much about the children in this district. I know a good many of the teachers and administrators who teach at North High School, as we meet up at times at in-services provided by our district and during summer school. There are approximately 1,700 children who attend North High School. As much as teachers try to touch base and meet up with children personally, the ratio of student to teacher makes that extremely challenging.
I would like to share that my daughter would come home with lovely and adoring stories about her teachers and administrators during her four years at North High School. Thus, I hold no animosity toward any teacher, administrator or adult at North High School. In fact, I have quite the opposite view. I have great admiration for them and appreciate all they did for my daughter and her classmates during her four years at North High School. I can assure you that if I did not, I would not have written this blog or it would have a very different message. Children come first for me and I truly know that this is also the case at North High School.
Yes, as educators, we need to do more. We ALWAYS need to do more. We CONSTANTLY try to do more and we will KEEP ON trying to do do more. However, the reality is that teachers cannot see everything. Thus, I am calling for stricter laws and more serious consequences for children if a child is involved in a bullying incident. Bullying is a form of harassment. Children must become educated to the fact that if they are involved in a bullying incident, there will be serious consequences. This could possibly entail the legal system issuing an ankle bracelet that a child may have to wear with enforced curfews and limited activities. Parents love their children and children are good at playing their parents. I’ll be the first to admit that, as a mother of three. I was stricter than many parents but I also know I was often times softer at times than I should have been. Sometimes it takes someone who is not personally involved to enforce some strict guidelines for teens until they learn that breaking rules or even the law has consequences. As hard as it is, for our children to grow, we must have the strength to allow for our children to have to answer for their choices.
Be aware that the bully is hurting also. That is the reason they bully. Bullies do not feel good about themselves. Thus, they try to target the pain away from themselves by inflicting it on someone else. What they are yet unaware of is that they only make their own pain greater.
I would like to share that like many adults, I too was a victim of bullying when I was a young teen. I know the daily pain of such inflictions. Perhaps it is one of the most influential reasons why I became a teacher. I wanted to protect and help children. The bullying got so bad that I was even beaten up by a boy who was told by the bullies that I had said something about him. I did not even know the boy. I recall literally running off the bus each day to my house as I did not want to encounter any of the bullies. However, the boy ran after me and caught up with me and pulled me to the ground and beat me up. I came home crying and all scratched up. My mother contacted the school immediately. My mom and I met with the principal, the boy and his father. Because of the incident the boy was no longer permitted to ride the bus to school. I thought his father was going to strangle the boy right in the principal’s office. You see the father held his child responsibile for his actions. He did not blame the school or the teachers. The school did not blame the parents. The child made the choice. Thus, it was he who was the one held responsible. I am certain that the boy never did anything like that again to another child.
Don't Laugh at Me
My heart goes out to the family, as this family will always suffer the scars of this terrible ordeal. How could one ever recover from the needless loss of a beautiful life? I am hearing from many of the parents of the children how much the girls adored this boy. It sounds like it was more of the boys who ostracized Jamie. I know most of it was out of fear that they might become labeled if they hung out with Jamie or befriended him. We need to do a better job as a society of teaching tolerance of differences. Please know that as teachers we try and we try hard but it must come from the home also; it must come from an acceptance of society in general. If children hear adults making derogatory comments about select groups of people who are different in anyway, they learn to hate or fear. If children hear acceptance, then they learn acceptance. I can tell you for certain that children learn more by what we do than by what we say.