Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bullying Hurts...


We are having a problem at the school where I teach with bullying. As someone who,was unmercifully bullied in school, I believe in a zero tolerance policy. However, with the current situation it's becoming clear that though one of the bullies has been suspended and the decision about expulsion is pending, students are beginning to stand up for the bully and ostracize the bullied, which I believe is further bullying. I just don't know what the solution is.  Whereas, I think the policy should be zero tolerance, i.e. bullies should be expelled, those who are being bullied are still facing more problems with other forms of bullying. How do I protect these kids? I'm not the only one fighting this fight, but we have to reach these kids somehow so that we can stop this hatred and bullying.

I keep thinking of the Bible for solutions.  We are a Christian school and most of the students would profess to being good Christians, but I think they are lost lambs.  So I have been mulling over the following verses from the Bible. All of the following verses are from the King James Version of the Bible.
Matthew 22:36-40 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. 
Matthew 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. 
Luke 6:31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 
Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
I am attending a conference tomorrow on the subject of bullying (it came at an appropriate and opportune time).  Maybe it will provide some answers.  Any advice?

5 comments:

SEAN said...

While I understand zero tolerance, I don't agree with it, it's too limiting and gives not opportunity to help someone who needs almost as much help as the victim. My sister and mother are in teaching and a 2 strike system (there are always exceptions) gives that bit of flexibility needed.

Growing up, one of the kids who bullied me had a mother who was painfully and loudly dying of cancer for almost 2 years and a father who was an NYC set who had given up and was never home. Glenn needed help but they didn't handle things like that 38 years ago and if it were today, he would have been expelled for sure which would have been wrong too.

We need to protect and provide a safe environment for all kids and help the ones who are act out.

Jay M. said...

Zero tolerance means that administrators are not allowed to use their brains, and set punishments that are appropriate to the offense. This policy has caused more trouble then it has ever solved with an Eagle Scout being recommended for expulsion because their personal survival kit, locked in the trunk of his car, contained a Swiss Army knife, and a girl being suspended for bringing a knife to cut a cake with to school, the teacher used the knife to cut and serve the cake, THEN TURNED THE GIRL IN!!! So Zero tolerance is not the answer.

That being said, maybe more kids need to be suspended if they are openly causing problems. And it can't hurt to teach a few lessons in loving thy neighbor.

Peace <3
Jay

brotherdoc said...

With respect to your school's Christian background, it seems to me very appropriate to teach and expect adherence to the golden rule. ALL are equal in God's sight and bullying gives a perfect opportunity to reinforce that teaching. Role play often works to teach kids lessons, e.g., put the bully in the role of the one being bullied. BTW does your faith tradition require using the KJV? I know some are ideologically opposed to the more modern translations but I think the kids would understand the teaching from Matthew better in more up to date language. Even Billy Graham used to poke fun at those who, he said, believed that if the KJV was good enough for Paul and Silas it was good enough for them. lol Best wishes and prayers.

JoeBlow said...

Sean and Jay, I agree that zero tolerance may be too much, but we always take into account extenuating circumstances. The reason for my anger is that this particular kid's most recent bullying incident involved a death threat, and the girl is truly afraid for her life/health. We need to make an example to show that further bullying will not be tolerated.

Brotherdoc, I agree that we need to focus more on the golden rule and this will be a suggestion of mine. Though I love the Beaty of the language of KJV, I tend to use either the New American Standard or the English Standard Versions of the Bible when teaching lessons from the Bible.

Coop said...

I think you need to ask why the other kids are rallying around the bully. Are they friends of the bully? no respect for authority? Is there a rumor going around about the kid being bullied? Is it a clique thing?
Who knows maybe one of the bullied kids tried to stand up for himself/herself and it backfired?

I hate bullying as much as the next person. However, I think it's impossible to eradicate. Call me the eternal pessimist. It's just as important to teach children how to stand up for themselves... and for others.