Saturday, October 25, 2014

Bullying in schools still prevalent, american national report finds

In a recent research article by Clemson University they found that despite a dramatic increase in public awareness and anti-bullying legislation nationwide, the prevalence of bullying is still one of the most pressing issues facing our nation's youth, according to a report. Read More

The middle school years are particularly important. From our personal experience there are a couple of things that parents, teachers, and administrators can do to help our kids navigate this challenging time.

The most important thing for our kids is an easy to understand student handbook with clearly defined expectations and consequences for any infraction. When schools provide clear rules (without fluff or happy talk) AND the consequences for breaking these rules AND THEN they follow through with these rules then the kids in the middle school have a greater respect for the teachers and administrators and they are more likely to comply.  In this Clemson study it clearly shows that by the time the kids get to high school they are less likely to report cases of cyberbullying because they have lost confidence that it will make any difference.

I talked with one middle school student who had gone to their principal to report a case of bullying. The principal started to giggle a little bit while this student was talking about his concerns. The student saw that the principal was not taking this very serious and said that in the student handbook it said that the consequence for this type of bullying would be that the students would be called into the principals office. This principal started to laugh some more and said "Oh my goodness you take things so serious".  This was seriously confusing for the student. In the end this student ended up slugging the kid in the nose and getting a one day suspension from school for hitting another kid. But the bullying stopped. So in the end the kid felt the one day suspension was worth it because he hated going to school in the first place.

This is the wrong message and the wrong solution.

We need to give our kids the benefit of a safe place to learn and the simplest way to do this is to give them clear information about expectations and consequences and let them know we care and are watching out for them.  We cannot just stand by.

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