There is no question that bullying is a problem. Just look at the news again today. I am totally on board with doing every single thing I can to ensure that every child feels safe and wanted in our classroom. I teach in an elementary building, and fortunately most of the what I see is mild. When I see bullying, I deal with it directly and immediately.
I have seen a change in recent years though, and it’s a change I wouldn’t have predicted. In the past, I may have received a call from home for details and to offer support from parents on both sides of the situation. In the past few years, I may get a call or email from a parent, but it isn’t in the form of support. It is frequently to reprimand me. The calls come from the parent of the child that was doing the bullying. Instead of supporting the effort to reduce bullying, some parents contact me to insist that their child couldn’t act like that. If a parent does not support me, my efforts are of little value to the student.
As a parent and an observer of kids, our kids actually can do things we wouldn’t expect. We don’t want to think that, but unfortunately it can be true. That does not mean that a student is bad or malicious. Sometimes it just means they got caught up in what someone else was doing, or they didn’t understand the impact. But the adult witnessing that has a responsibility to deal with it.
Bullying is a school problem, but not only a school problem; it is a village problem. It’s all of our responsibility. If we want it to stop… if we want each and every child to feel safe and wanted in school… it is a village responsibility. Each child is our child. Each child’s life is held in the community hand. Yes, we have to have our own kids’ backs, but not at the expense of someone else’s. As are many things, this problem is dealt with most effectively when we all support the greater good, which includes each one of us…kids and adults alike.