Monday, August 25, 2008

Speaking of back-to-school…

A bitch read this article about bully proofing your chil’ren and it reminded me that bullying is one of many reasons some youth don’t look forward to the end of summer.

When this bitch was a wee bitch I was bullied relentlessly. It started when I walked into my kindergarten class and continued through my grade school years. As a result, a bitch couldn’t stand going to school and used to search desperately for ways to get out of it.

Unfortunately, my grades reflected that shit...big time.

Blink.

Anti-bullying measures like those discussed in the CNN.com article are a good start, but they are only as good as the system’s understanding of what bullying is. Here in Missouri we have anti-bullying mandates for schools that do not have enumerated categories…and we also have some educators who think calling a fellow student a faggot isn’t bullying.

What we need to do is remember that adults need education too. Parents need to be brought up to speed on the cost of bullying to the victim and the bully…on their child’s rights as students and their rights as tax paying investors in public education…and communities need to raise the bar on expectations for students, schools and educators.

This bitch remembers hearing a teacher talk about one of my bullies and her parents. It was around teacher-parent conference time and I guess the bully’s parents had already been in. I was listening in because I knew my ass wasn’t going to have a good conference…sigh…and a bitch was hoping to get the teacher’s take on my performance prior to the drama-filled event to come. Instead I heard the teacher venting about the mean as hell foul ass attitude of my bully’s parents. And I remember being shocked as the teacher talked of having to defend my bully from the verbal taunts of her parents.

I was even more shocked to find myself feeling sorry for my bully…right up until recess when she plowed her fist into my stomach.

Sigh.

Looking back, it makes sense that bullying is sometimes learned at home. Not always, but sometimes.

Just as it makes sense that communities dealing with bullies in their schools may not be equipped to identify and address the problem of bullying.

Organizations like PROMO are working to get specificity added to Missouri’s anti-bullying legislation so that communities, schools, educators, students and parents will have to tools to identify and address bullying.

So yes, its time for back-to-school preparedness y’all.

This bitch thinks now is a good time to ask your local school how they identify and deal with bullying and what you can do to help...

10 comments:

Lyndsay said...

Have you heard of a program started by a Canadian woman where a baby is brought into a classroom? I don't know exactly what happens after the baby is brought in and laid down but apparently this program has had good results in increasing empathy among students and decreasing bullying. Of course then I have to ask if it's had success why aren't there more efforts to make this program more widespread? It is spreading but how much, I don't know. Other things are being done here in Ontario to reduce bullying and there is a "zero tolerance" policy. I don't know how much effect other programs have had though.

SagaciousHillbilly said...

Our school system has had a zero tolerance policy for bullying for years.

As one who was also continually picked on and bullied throughout my public school career, I have always found it refreshing.

Of course, if I hadn't been bullied so badly, I wouldn't have become the determined tough assed MF I did as an adult.

Dagny said...

I hear ya. The last year that I spent in the classroom, I had to deal with a group of "mean girls." The leader? Everyone wanted to excuse her behavior because of her family history. While I was sympathetic to her family situation, I also thought it was unfair to leave her evil ass in a class of nice kids. And I can't help but think that when I got laid off, she thought to herself, "I've won -- again."

IseultTheIdle said...

I never had to deal with too much bullying on my own account - two older brothers probably helped, there. But I did make it a point to stick up for others when I saw them being picked on. It's just the way we were brought up. If my mother had heard that someone was catching shit from a bully when I was there and doing nothing to stop it there would have been hell to pay.

That's the advantage of a small town, though. My mother WOULD have heard about it.

Also: no guns in school at the time. I'm not sure I'd encourage kids today to get involved, sadly.

Nat said...

I have a son in school here (in Ontario). I know his small school is very pro-active in the "This is bullying". Not sure it works, I think there is a fine line between "joking" and bullying. But they are quick to take action... I guess that's good.

As parents we need to listen to our kids. I know I didn't feel comfortable going to my parents with my issues. I hope I am nurturing a more open relationship with my son.

yinn said...

The Teaching Tolerance website (http://www.tolerance.org/search/query.html?col=test&qt=bully&x=25&y=10), run iirc by the good folks at Southern Poverty Law Center, has a lot of good resources for dealing with bullies and bullying.

I was planning on a foray there anyway, since my child just started middle school...

Caroline said...

This clueless first time mom dropped her son off to kindergarten for the first time and saw signs about bully prevention - except on a 5 year old level ("don't make your friend cry" kind of stuff). I was pretty amazed. Not sure if it works (I'm sure we'll learn soon enough) but I am encouraged to see some awareness. Great post.

Borderlandia said...

Just a quick post to say that it is really important to build children’s skills as potential targets and bystanders/witnesses, as well as to address potentially bullying behavior.

Here are some resources to share:

US Department of Health & Human Services (2006):
http://stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov/index.asp?area=main

The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program:
website http://www.clemson.edu/olweus/

Bullying No Way:
http://www.bullyingnoway.com.au/issues/default.shtml

Bullying UK:
http://www.bullying.co.uk/

From Australia, the Friendly Schools and Families Program http://www.friendlyschools.com.au/

Key researchers in this field include:
Donna Cross, Ken Rigby, Christina Salmivalli, Debra Peplar,
Dan Olweus, Peter Smith

Anonymous said...

I work in the schools and I work with families with children who don't attend school. About 1/3 of the student stop attending school do so because of bullying.

I work in area which is depressing to say the least. What I find is not that there is bullying per se but that the schools that have internalized the "predatory mentality" that is in the community.

We've had many workshops and programs for bullying for the schools. But there is not much of an impact.

The problems in my schools are so pervasive. Parents try to intimidate teachers and support staff. Parents bully kids who don't get along with there children. Parents even fight students in the school and each other. Principals and administrators use strong arm tactics to get they want out of students and teachers. In turn teachers use mind games and other forms of psychological aggressions to maintain class control and to get through the teaching day.

I find that most students try to find 1) stronger students to befriend for protect. 2) adopt the thug/juvenile delinquent mentality to adapt to the school social environment. and 3) pick on someone less aggressive then themselves to put on the tough act.


Bullying in many schools is not the old fashion "give me your lunch money" fare. I wish it was then my job would be so much easier and schools as a whole would be such a safer environment. It is more this is a war zone and everybody is trying to get through the day. People commit aggressive acts against each other as way of getting through the school day

Anonymous said...

In the city where I live, Buffalo NY we have Principals who bully kids and teachers both, lie about it and get caught but nothing happens to them. They hire disgraced coaches who've been run out of every other job for screwing students then try to promote them.

http://www.buffalonews.com/cityregion/buffaloerie/story/421914.html