Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bullying Is Just Not Right

The Today Show is talking about bullying this morning.  I guess, unfortunately, bullying has been around since the beginning of mankind.  Was Jesus bullied?   Well, yes....by those who eventually put him to death.  He was bullied and mocked all the way to Golgatha where he was crucified.  So is it human nature to be cruel to those 'we don't like'?

Maybe it is a natural response at the most basal level of human nature but once a person has any level of real enlightenment, or awareness, it is not a part of their nature. 

Children live what they learn.  Never a truer statement has been written...most of the time.  Hey, we human beings are not black or white.  We all have a little grey...and isn't that a good thing.  Except when it comes to bullying.

I hear repeatedly that schools 'do nothing' to stop bullying.  That schools 'allow' bullying to take place.  It does make good fodder for talk shows and political debates but, not true, according to me.  More like "Zero Tolerance"!  You know...just like for weapons.  The difference is you can see a gun.  It is tangible.  If anyone reports the presence of a gun in a school, it is immediately the first priority of the administration.  Bullying,, however, IF it even gets reported, is intangible.  You can't always see it or hear it.  Sometimes you can chase down a text but can you imagine the losing battle you are fighting with a thousand cell phones in a school?

Much bullying goes unreported for fear that it will get worse "if I tell".  We've all felt that way before in some way, shape or form.  What to do?

Teach your child to tell.  To tell his teacher, his counselor, you.  Let the child handle it first on his own if it is age appropriate.  It builds his esteem and power to handle it if he can.  Have I had to handle this as a teacher?  You bet I have.  Once a student actually bullied ME!  His teacher!  Once.  After explaining to him in no uncertain terms that he was breaking the law and I could charge him in a heartbeat, and I would, he cowered away.

When I was a very young teacher, I saw bullying one time and I let it go.  It stills haunts me.  I apologized later to the student and tried to restore his dignity.  That was 30 years ago.  Teachers were untrained in how to handle bullying back then.  Now the training is intense.  I am glad to say that I've conducted those trainings myself...to atone for my lack of backbone way back when.  And to make sure my peer teachers knew what to do.

Don't blame the schools.  Support them.  Your words are powerful.  Not just when bullying but when spouting off to a neighbor about your neighborhood school or writing a letter to the editor.  Let your words be supportive, not destructive. 


  1. I am one of those "do-nothings" when it comes to school involvememnt, except for paying taxes. Guess age is partly to blame, but it is MY indifference, the greater blame.

    Only in school matters, that is. It just seems like a useless uphill battle. We pay more. We get less.
    I admire greatly, YESSSS, teachers as you--who are serious, who empathize with their human beings, the students, see them as people, not as a herd of animals pushed through the gate of learning.

    OBOY, I'm on that soapbox again!
    Thank you for being conscientious.


  2. Thanks Steve. Most teachers are very conscientious. It's just a huge, big old system that gets in its own way sometimes.

  3. Bullying has been around since the beginning of time. And in schools since they began. It seems that only recently is it coming to the forefront. I'm all for efforts to curtail it, as I can remember being on the receiving end many times.

  4. In schools today there's a lot of politics and over-protective parents and performance driven goals - very few are willing to step up to address these problems, much less pay attention.. even if they know about it.

    It's a tough world in the schools.


  5. I remember being bullied and it was the worst. Unfortunately in my situation, telling teachers wouldn't have been an option as there were some teachers doing the bullying too. It was an all around bad situation but I agree that parents and teachers need to work together to stop it in its tracks.

  6. There was no bullying in school when I was a kid. Well, unless you count the nuns with their rulers.

    I do feel strongly that so many children have lost that healthy fear we had towards adults. You wouldn't dare bully because when the nuns got through with you, your parents and the bullied kids parents would be next in line to set you straight. Adults were all on the same team.

  7. I didn't get bullied, but then it's probably because I'm a girl and most of my friends are females. I do agree it starts from home--the parents.

  8. Sandra, what a well-written post. Exactly! Teach the children to tell and continue to tell until someone hears them. I'm so glad that teachers are getting trained in this, during my school days back in the stone age, everyone turned a blind eye which is definitely not the right answer.

  9. A well thought out post, it certainly challenged some of my views on the subject - thanks for that.


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