When School is no longer a safe place
When is enough going to be enough?
Several years ago, it seemed that all we heard about was school violence. As a country we were horrifed and still mourn the loss that befell Columbine High School. We watch television shows and movies that are written purposely to target the subject of bullying. Schools are required to add anti bullying programs to their curriculum and treat all incidents of violence or suspected bullying very seriously. So why then does this continue to go on and on?
Last month, a video from Australia surfaced and received an enormous amount of attention. Casey Heynes had finally had enough of the constant abuse he had suffered for years at the hands of various tormentors and took care of business. He picked up the bully and slammed him against the ground. I am sure this ended the days of bullying Casey, but it also broke the ankle of the bully and could have caused far more severe injuries. People all over the world viewed this video and applauded Casey. He was interviewed and is quoted as saying that he "just could not take another minute of it.". Casey was suspended from school for injurying this tormentor. While I do not condone bullying, I also do not like the fact that it had to go to such a violent moment before it ended.
My daughter is unique, creative, artistic, musical and beautiful. I do admit that she walks to the beat of her own drummer and I support this entirely. She does not stick out like a sore thumb, she dresses in style with the other girls her age, she does not do anything to provoke problems, but the mere fact is that she IS indeed different and a bit quirky. Like most artistic types, she is also very sensitive. All of the qualities I have listed make her wonderful and this is who she is. I do not recommend changing a thing, however I have been trying to help her develop a thicker skin and sadly she is going to have to harden her heart just a bit in order to survive in her current school situation.
Her classroom seems to be a breeding ground for bullies. There is not one, but several and they do not work together. So there truly is no escape. Try as they might, the staff of her school just cannot get a handle on the situation. They can do all they like within the confines of their school day, but they cannot control what goes on once the students leave their care and go back into the arms of those who are caregivers to them. These "adults" and I am using the term loosely, do not seem to think that their children are doing anything wrong. They tend to think it is a right of passage and that only the strong survive, so everyone just better suck it up. These are the type of people we are to thank the very next time we see a mass school shooting done by a student who spent their entire school career being put down and hurt.
I don't understand this. It is NOT a RITE OF PASSAGE. It is inappropriate, rude, narcissistic, anti social, and quite frankly awful behavior to teach your children. Parents that condone this sort of thing are in my mind unfit to retain custody without parenting classes. DO they realize that they are teaching their child to HURT? Isn't that the same as raising a mass murderer? I am not suggesting we do not raise our children to take care of themselves and protect themselves, but being aggressive when it is not necessary nor warranted is just unconscienceable lessons to bestow upon your child.
That said, what I also want to know is how highly educated adults who possess certificates and degrees can sit in a room and listen to a child who is forever being accused of ill behavior repeatedly act the sweet and innocent little angel and not see through these lies? If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it usually IS one.
But I guess if that duck has a family who plays the victim card over and over and over. Or if that child has a family who throws their weight around in some other capacity, say financially or politically, they get a free pass to continue to torture and emotionally abuse anyone she wants.
So what does one do when their child has to get up every morning and get a pep talk on how to try to avoid the mean children and play with those who would not hurt them? Especially when it seems as though the aggressors are forcing themselves into every situation to be sure they have the total control they are looking for.
Of course we adults know that if all of the bullied children banned together and fought back, perhaps they would stand a chance, but they won't. They don't see it as a possibility. They are scared. Unsafe in their own school. Especially when the adults around them seem so blind as to what is happening to them. They are getting pelted with hand balls in the school yard, but if they tell, they are called tattletales, or if they throw back, they are in trouble and the aggressor simply laughs.
It can only end with education. However, you can educate those who WANT to learn. Most parent do not want to learn. The schools are knocking themselves out with this "do something nice each day" program. So the bullies are the first ones to show off what they did, and after the applause they stick their foot out to trip the kid next to them while noone is looking. NO lesson learned here. Their parents will scoff and say that the bullied kid is either lying or has to grow up and learn to take some hard knocks.
Yes, I agree to some extent that the skin needs to toughen off because we all know that bullying and inappropriate behavior continues well into the work place and adulthood. But shouldn't children at least be able to feel safe at their school? Why must I spent all morning preparing my child for war? Why must I get a phone call about when she finally decided to defend herself as a negative thing? I flat out told the school that I warned them about these issues and they did not take them seriously and I will not tell my child to just stand there and take abuse without fighting back. As an educator this is a very hard thing for me to do since I know that you do not answer violence with violence, It is not the solution. However, you also can't be a doormat, for then all will wipe their feet upon you.
I wish their was an answer, at this moment I am dismayed that young children have so much anger in their hearts that they spend their days lashing out at several children per day. It's painful that those who will fight back are the ones who sent to the counselor's office to chat will the aggressor remains on the playground to torment yet more innocent children. Why are our educators so powerless to control this? Why are our parents refusing to parent their children properly so they grow up to be law abiding, contributing citizens of the world? Your guess is as good as mine.