Although some students have already headed back to school, most will be returning after Labor Day. For many, it is a time to see old friends, share stories about summer activities and look forward with eager anticipation to lots of new experiences. But, for way too many students, returning to school means returning to the ugly world of being teased and taunted and in some cases, even being physically assaulted. How can we ever expect our children to thrive and pursue a future that has real meaning to them if they are focused on defending
It is time for teachers and administrators to step up and stop the bullying in their schools because it is happening on their watch. And for any teacher who is not willing to take on this responsibility, they should be asked to find a teaching position somewhere else.themselves? And the bullies themselves will not be motivated to work for a successful future if they are focused on finding more ways to make fun of and taunt other kids in their schools. So what is the answer?
It is very simple. Nothing has changed. It is now and always has been the responsibility of parents, teachers and school staff members at all levels to look out for the children. What has changed is the attitude of the adults and their abilities to make excuses for their own disengagement and blaming of someone else for what is happening to the students. But so many of those people who are responsible for the children have neither the time nor the disposition to care about what is going on. Many of these parents are so busy working, many as single parents, that after working a full shift and coming home to make meals and clean the house and do the laundry, etc. that by the time they are done, there is no time for anything but a shower and dropping dead tired into bed. The children know this and the last thing they want to do is to burden their parent(s) with their problems.
So let’s direct our attention to the schools. After all, this is one of the prime places that the bullying is taking place. As a former teacher, I understand that we are really short-changing the children in this arena. Of course, there are always great teachers who have the children’s best interest at heart but there are way too many that do not. Furthermore, the administrations at many schools do nothing to back the teachers and staff that work there. It is time for these adults to step up to the plate and protect the children. Teachers do know what is going on in the schools. The faculty lounge is always abuzz with the latest gossip. The teachers know almost every intimate detail of the students, their work, their friendships and their home lives. They know who the bullies are and they know who the bullies are targeting. It is time for teachers and administrators to step up and stop the bullying in their schools because it is happening on their watch. And for any teacher who is not willing to take on this responsibility, they should be asked to find a teaching position somewhere else.
The students need to know that such bad behavior and disrespect will not be tolerated in their school. They need to know that if they are being bullied, even if the bullying is being done by one of the teachers, they can go to any other teacher or administrator in the school and report what is going on without there being repercussions to them and to know that the problem will be resolved. By creating such an atmosphere, every student and teacher will be better able to focus on the learning so that schools can once again be the place where not only academics are being taught but also how to respect one another in a social environment. It all starts with your school and your willingness to step up to the plate with your voice on behalf of all of the children. There is absolutely nothing more important that you could ever do for your community and for all of the children.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.