Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bullying - in my school district???

Here we are, less than one month into the new school year...

Does bullying exist in your child's school district? What about in his or her own school?

You bet it does!

And it occurs not only between students, but it might be occurring by teachers!

Watch this video titled Bullied: A Student, a School and a Case That Made History:

Then contact your school's principal and ask him (or her) to order a copy for his school. Ask by what date it will be ordered (budget won't be a problem; it's free. If you need to take a 44-cent stamp to the principal's office, take it (but it probably can be ordered by e-mail, too)).

And then follow up in two weeks to ask if it has been received. And then every week until it is received. Then ask if the principal and staff have watched it. And when it will be shown to every student in the school.

Get involved! Remember, you are the parent. You are responsible to see that the schools are safe for your child(ren).

Be relentless. And don't go it alone. Align yourself with other parents and insist on safe schools. Now!

And post your comment here, naming the school you will ask to order the film today.

You think that teachers don't bully students? "My son has a teacher who actually calls the kids wieners and makes fun of them if they are struggling. He has a mug and sign in the classroom that say 'I see stupid people'.”

That quote is from an article on Go to that site; then search for "Bullying" and look down the list for that article. You'll spot it easily from the leading quote.

Does it happen in Woodstock District 200? You bet! It was spotted by a technical consultant who was called in to conduct a proper Functional Behavior Assessment for a student whose absenteeism was over 60% for the school year (and never reported as truant!). What happened to the teacher? Nothing!

2 comments: said...

Please don't forget to include staff, who may also become easy targets of bullying. During an AM exploratory class in a rough, rural, poor district where I worked for six difficult years, one spring morning just prior to Spring Break, I experienced a verbal assault in front of my entire class, when an eighth grade boy threatened to (and I quote)"hit you so hard, I'll knock your head up your a__ and out your c___."

For about one half of a split second, the entire class sat dumbstruck, as his vile words slowly settled into our collective brains. Then I sprang into action. I asked my class to remain seated (normally, I would ask them to leave the room with me, so as to remove the "stage" from the offending student), while I walked calmly down to my principal's office.

Feeling furious over what had just happened, but in total control of my emotions, I walked into my principal's office (at that time, he was the third of five principals with whom I worked over the period of six years) to explain the situation and request that he (the principal) immediately escort the student from my classroom, along with any available male teachers.

Since this particular principal's reputation for being just a bit too "soft" on out-of-control behavior, i.e., he had trouble with becoming "the hammer" when necessary, but, instead, preferred to engage in a "warm fuzzy" approach with habitual offenders who quickly played the system by "acting out," so they could go sit in his office and get out of class.

After repeating the scenario to him, knowing full well that he thought I might be "stretching" things just a bit, and would, consequently, take the side of the student, I concluded by asking him whether his wife or daughters should ever be subjected to that type of verbal assault (at that time his wife served as an elementary principal in the most affluent of Battle Creek's school districts (using the same "throw the teacher under the bus" approach as her husband), while his two daughters attended high school in my home district). To my query, he replied, "No."

Due to the mother's inability to manage her son's behavior while attending school in yet another rough, rural and poor district (there are a lot of these in Michigan), from which he had been expelled, the student had been sent to live with his father.

Since his son had not been able to manage his own behavior while previously attending his father's home school district, he came to be admitted to our school mid semester (never a good sign), through "Schools of Choice," but without a check of previous disciplinary records from either of the sending districts being conducted by my administrators.

The boy's consequence for the verbal assault? Not much! Here's what was "handed down" to the young man and his father.
First, he appeared before the board of education and publicly apologized to me.

Also, the board requested that his father SEND him to an "anger management" class (without any stipulation as to whether he would accompany his son). My hunch was, and still is, that he learned how to verbally abuse women by watching his father.

Lastly, the student would be required to perform "community service." Guess where that service would be done? In the middle school where the offense took place! Every day, he walked past my classroom door, pushing a broom down the hall, while waving and laughing as he passed by. said...

During those six years, I also witnessed verbal threats made at a female principal by a different male student, as well as the "drugging" of a special education classroom aide, who had to be carried out of the ladies' bathroom after someone dropped a (prescription?) drug in her coffee, after threatening her life many times through harassing notes. Because the incident occurred just a couple of days prior to dismissal for the summer, and due to the mishandling of the entire situation by the administration, the offending student was never apprehended or disciplined appropriately.

In public schools, students are not the only ones who become the victims of bullying or worse, but rather, as I have described above, and, as past news accounts have reported, teachers and support staff have also become the targets of intimidation, verbal and physical assault, or death, such as those who have been shot and killed by students.

Several years ago, the incident at a Columbine High School brought about many positive changes within public school settings, most of which have adopted a "zero tolerance" approach with regard to physical or verbal assault, as well as acts of intimidation.

Had I known then what I know now, I would have called the local police to report the young man who verbally assaulted me and filed a formal complaint against not only the boy, but the entire school district. That would have sent a much stronger message to the incompetent and ever changing administration under which I worked for six years and three months.

However, I did not take that action for one reason alone. I could not afford to be fired or placed on “administrative leave,” which is what happens to teachers who follow that course of action, as a result of a verbal or physical assault on the part of the student.

Reporting any student threat on your person to outside law enforcement is always a huge risk, as one inner city Battle Creek teacher did this and was placed on administrative leave by his black female (not that it matters) assistant principal, who, also, was notoriously soft on students who threatened, harassed, or intimidated other staff and students.

Given modern technology, and if the districts can afford to install it, the use of security cameras in school busses, parking lots and school corridors, makes identification of the perpetrators of violence in these types of incidents very easy, so that assistant principals may just call the police and have the offender(s) picked up and taken down town.