School Bullies: Part 6

POSTED: Friday, May 15, 2009 - 8:07am

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 10:29pm

We really want to leave you with some answers, regarding school bullying. Part of the answer is our school districts. Each of our three main school districts are working to implement programs that deal directly with bullying.

"I'm a father in addition to being an administrator and it has to be noted that at some point my child may be a victim," said Mark Mendoza with the El Paso Independent School District. "At some point, who knows, my child may bully another child. So, I, as a parent must be very open to any assistance that comes my way: in reporting, because reporting is the most important thing."

"Because the parent at home is the eyes and ears, they will hear things from that student that we won't and so if we aren't hearing about it, we can't do anything about it," said Mendoza. "Secondly, the parent of the bully is facing an equal challenge. They have to be open to the fact that your child may need assistance and, being a parent, and having that understanding in the community that we as teachers, that we as educators are parents as well, we know how difficult it is. We're here to help.

But schools are only part of the answer. Schools are not the parents and parents only see so much. The key, are the 90% of the school population who are not bullied and are not bullies. They are the ones who have the power.

"If you look at a school, some of the facts are they make up 90% of the population, students do," said John Linney, author of Safe School Ambassadors. "They see, hear and know things adults don't. They turn to each other first when they are upset or in need. So it makes sense that we tap into student and help them notice it and help them deal with it so that they have allies on a campus. For me it makes logical sense that we have this untapped resource this huge population that we need to look into and say if you notice it and we don't then what can you do?"

Linney adds, "What should they do if a kid is walking down the hall and they hear somebody is being made fun of or being called all kinds of names, what do they say? Well, there are different levels in certain age groups. Let's say I hear a racist remark and somebody says something about somebody. If it's my friend, I can say, 'Hey man, I know Eddie. He's a pretty cool guy. I have P.E. with him." Just a subtle kind of comment to say, 'I noticed what you said and he's OK', because what it tells the aggressor that what he is saying is kind of not cool."

"So, it's little things, subtle ways that's not like getting in their face, but little ways and things that people can say that will start changing the norm," said Linney.

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