. . . I've been told that I write novels for email messages. Perhaps this is the way to go. I'll try to make each entry, or Gemstone, a "precious" one. On mediocre days, all I might be able to produce is a "semi-precious" entry. In any case, an entry might be a "neat" Gemstone--something that is uniquely mine.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bullies Suck

What is it about human nature that causes people to feel the need to dominate over someone weaker than themselves? Is it old evolutionary biology and survival of the fittest? Is it a need to feel powerful and controlling? In our American society the people that are admired most tend to be the rich and powerful--those who dominate over others. Value needs to be placed on every unique person, for their own unique talents. Too bad society doesn't see that.

I get to see evidence of bullying often at the elementary school and it isn't just with a certain age of kids. I know that you can find evidence of bullying when little toddlers are playing together: one kid steals the other's Matchbox car or smacks the playmate when they don't get their way. But I think the worst kind of bullying happens starting in about 4th grade and lasts until midway through high school. The type of bullying may change from physical to more verbal as kids get older, but it is still bullying. Of course bullying happens when you're an adult also, but I'm going to just focus on kids for this post.

Bullies target kids who they perceive as weaker or different from them. I see a lot of kids bullying the sensitive boys: the boys who cry easy or who feel things deeper than others.  I also see kids bullying the kids that are different from others like the kids with Asperger's Syndrome. The girls tend to be snippy and verbally abusive to other girls who might be the shy and quiet ones. Usually bullies make their attack without any real reason, except that they see their target as a victim. 

What makes me furious is knowing that the bullying happens and no single adult puts a stop to it. It seems that the adults out on recess duty just look the other way, hoping a different duty teacher will do something about it. They don't want to confront the bullies because it is a hard situation. But that is our job!! It can't continue. These kids need to learn how to interact with others in a positive way, not in a dominating way and we adults are the ones to model that behavior. Tell the bully that you know what they're doing and that it will not be tolerated. Of course, it helps if you have a principal who has a zero tolerance attitude on bullying. If so, send the bully to the principal, but if not, deal with it yourself! There are many incidences at recess where I've witnessed bullying taking place and I know another teacher has seen it too, but walks the other direction, leaving it for me to address.

Many schools or individual classrooms do have an anti-bullying programs in effect. Our district does have one. The key is to enforce the program instead of looking the other way in hopes that someone else will take care of it.

2/27 P.S.  Neighborhood bullies suck also!


Valerie said...

Bullies do suck. It's too bad that there is the tendency for some staff to look the other way when it happens. Maybe they are only willing to step in when punches are flying.

Anonymous said...

A bully was someone never tolerated in our household or in our realm of friends. To me a bully has always been someone that is too weak to fit into a civilized society and yet they surround us every day and constantly make the evening news. If this type of personality is not delt with when they are a child, I fear it only worsens with adulthood. I too, after teaching for some 25 years, saw too much of bullies and the thought of them to this day still makes me sick. No one should turn their back on a bully, for when they do, they are no better than the bully.

Danise, I really appreciate what you had to say and hope more caring people will join in.

Love, Dad

Greg Kendall said...

It's sad to see kids stifled by Bullies. Teacher's can make a big difference by helping keep things on a level playing field for the kid being bullied.