Monday, January 30, 2012

Bullying: Where Do We Begin?


 Bullying takes place outside of the lessons (with a smirk or a taunt), in places not policed by teachers (the bathrooms and change rooms) and  even outside the school grounds (on the computer or at parties), and it gains momentum with an audience.  Bullying is also not confined to the behaviour of children.

Bullying is quite an issue in schools these days. There is no doubt about that. Some people think it's a problem, some think it's just kids being kids, and others take a middle ground saying yes it can be a problem but it is best to let the kids sort it out.


I wrote in a post a few weeks ago that bullying must be defined. Everyone knows what it is, when he is being bullied but few know what it is when asked to stop doing it.

In the last two years, the Ontario government created Bill 168 . This legislation is designed to keep schools safe. All bullying that goes on whether at school or after (that affects the students, or staff) must be reported to the principal. The idea is that the principal will have all the information needed to make decisions that are appropriate to the situation.


I applaud the implementation of Bill 168 because it is a good start at tackling the problem. But it is only a start...

What do you think?

16 comments:

  1. Here's an example of bullying in the grown-up world: http://www.independent.ie/national-news/bishop-accused-of-incitement-to-hatred-in-homily-3003057.html

    This is not anything like the SSPX bishop Williamson, who is an abrasive jerk. (He is best known for recent comments denying the Holocaust.) No; this case is so transparently lacking in merit that it can only be harassment -- which is a form of bullying.

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  2. I think bullying is out of control these days. Kids have access to tools that can do real harm. A girl at my school last year was so bullied that she changed school. It was awful. It solved the issue for her, but they just have a new target.

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  3. My son was suspended from grade 6 for two days because he verbally threatened the two students who were bullying him. He had reported the ongoing bullying, I had reported the ongoing bullying, yet nothing was being done to help my son or the other two students. My son's version of the incident differed from the two bullies, so he was deemed to be the guilty party.

    The VP told me it was because my son had "lowered the moral tone of the school." I was shocked at this statement. I told the VP that I would be going through the process with the YRDSB to appeal the suspension. My complaint was that the student who was with my son at the time (his friend), was not interviewed at all. I was livid because the school had done next to nothing to help my son deal with the bullying. He'd taken all the bullying he could take and retaliated inappropriately. My husband and I dealt with the inappropriateness at home.

    In total, my son missed three days of school - he was pulled out of class early on the Thursday morning, I had to pick him up at noon and he was absent from school on Friday and Tuesday (Monday was the Family Day holiday.) The VP spoke with the bullies, however, to my knowledge they did not receive suspensions.

    The principal returned to the school on Tuesday and called me at home. He wanted to hear my side of what happened. He then withdrew the suspension so it would taken off my son's OSR.

    The school has put a program in place to deal with bullying issues.

    Sorry, this should have been an e-mail rather than an "essay" comment!

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  4. @Liz

    I'm afraid your son's experience is not uncommon. Unfortunately, too many administrators and even teachers place the interests of their own career before the interests of the children. In that case, their interest is not in reaching a just resolution, but in sweeping the problem under the rug. This really amounts to a different, and in many ways worse, kind of bullying.

    I would suggest that whenever you have to deal with that school in the future, you do it in a way so that you can prove that you communicated with them and what you said. My understanding is that emails are sufficient in Canada for that purpose. That way, if the VP said that your son had "lowered the moral tone of the school", you could respond, "Well, I described to you in detail the bullying that went on in emails dated March 5, March 28, April 10, and April 22, and you did nothing. Here are printouts of those emails and your responses to them." If the administrators are smart, they will recognize you are creating a paper trail before it comes to this and be more careful.

    There is the chance that this could backfire, unfortunately. Adults who are willing to passively cooperate with bullying may be willing to engage in their own kind of active bullying. If you have a paper trail, though, you are more likely to be able to get a positive resolution if you have to take this to the next level.

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  5. I think bullying should come under the criminal code and should be dealt with by the police.

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  6. I'm a teacher with York Catholic and I can tell you that most teachers know what is going on and they want to stop it. We are handicapped by the principal. He is in charge and we have to suffer the bullying from him if we dare do something he doesn't approve.

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  7. What can we do to make principals take bullying more seriously?

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  8. I'm a mother and my daughter has been terribly mistreated by a group of bullies. SOmething has to give. I am sick and tired of school administrators telling me my daughter has everything and the bullies come from terrible homes. I am saddened by that but it doesn't change the fact that my daughter doesn't want to go school. What happened to zero tolerance?

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    Replies
    1. I think we try to get the victims to understand that the other child is acting from pain and not because he or she is a monster. It wasn't originally meant to let someone away from the consequences but to lend greater understanding toward a resolution. Obviously, that has been lost. Humanizing the bully is only half the job. We have to humanize the victim to the bully too.

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    2. If that is the point of all that soft-feelings BS then I find that very patronizing.

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    3. I think it isn't meant to be patronizing. It just meant to address the problem in a way that is sympathetic to all. Which can be hard to swallow at times.

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  9. My daughter is bullied at school. She is a kind, friendly girl who has been taught to treat others with consideration. These are the very qualities that the bullies target. The teacher seemed sympathetic at first but now avoids seeing me at all. I am frightened that my daughter may be beaten up by these girls. WHat can I do?

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    Replies
    1. You need to act now. Your daughter should not feel that she is in danger. And you should not feel your daughter is in danger. Look at Howard's email above. I think he gives good advice.

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    2. I agree. You need to do something. Call the prinipal. Alert someone to what is going on.

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  10. I've re-posted this post on my other blog so that we can continue this discussion. I'm so upset that there are so many children who are going to school and feeling bullied. I know a lot of teachers want to help but for various reasons are not effective to doing so. Let's continue the discussion...


    http://aquestionfortheteacher.blogspot.ca/2012/05/lets-talk-about-bullying.html

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  11. It just sounds like a lot of students lose school time to bullying. What a shame.

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