Monday, May 21, 2012

Effects of Bullying After 48 Years

How to Stop Bullying in Schools

By Martha McAdams, principal, Sebastian Charter Junior High

How to stop bullying in schools - victims often don't know that they are a target. Forty-eight years after this principal's experience, she discusses the ramifications of bullying.
I was in the seventh grade and was sitting in Mr. Stamp’s social studies class. The teacher was outside in the hallway disciplining a student. A classmate, MM, told me he didn’t think I could make the same gesture he was making with my hand, I didn’t know what it meant and I showed him that indeed I could make that same gesture and a lot of his friends around us laughed. This type of baiting went on for several weeks. Finally, one of my classmates told me it was an obscene gesture and to never make it again. This was the beginning of MM’s harassment, but it was certainly not the end. All through junior high there were many days that MM would torment me.

It continued in high school but wasn’t as often when I became a senior and was elected an officer in several organizations. There were days that I didn’t want to go to school. There were days that I cried at school and many more days that I cried after I got home from school.

Some of the specifics have faded away with time, but the scene in Mr. Stamp’s classroom is still crystal clear in my mine. I can tell you where he sat and where I sat and where the clock was on the wall in social studies class.

You might think that this happened just a few years ago. No, this happened to me, 48 years ago. The hurt is less now. I am a successful person. I was lucky. I had friends and a family that loved me and supported me. I never told my parents or any teacher about the way I was treated. I didn’t know it was wrong for someone to get their jollies at my expense.

I became a teacher. I always looked out for the child that was a little different. I would not tolerate teasing or any form of bullying in my classroom. Now that I am a principal I do not tolerate any form of bullying at our school.

I have empathy for the students who have been picked on or make fun of at other places. This school is a no bullying zone. We teach students not only what to do if they are being bullied, but what to do if they see someone making fun of someone else. If you see it and don’t do anything about it, you are not being a responsible citizen. Everyone needs to be proactive, teachers, parents, administrators and students. Speak up so no one has to live with memories that last a lifetime that are anything but pleasant. I was lucky, mine were only minor emotional scars that eventually healed. I am lucky because I have a staff that is proactive about keeping bullying out of our school. Make every school a no bullying zone; teach all students what to do. Remember to treat everyone with respect so you can respect yourself.


For more information on bullying prevention and available resources to support your efforts, sign up today for the FREE professional development webinar for educators presented by the School Improvement Network, Bullying: Understanding the Problem, Defining Solutions on May 30th 2012, 3:00pm with Robin Young of the National Crime Prevention Council.

Click here to register for the FREE webinar:

1 comment:

  1. This is an excellent post, I think of my twin brother who was bullied not by other students but by his 4th grade teacher. She was a mean person and luckily did not stay at the school for long, but the damage was done. That was a very difficult year for him and the effects continued for many years - particularly when it came to women in authority. We both still despise her actions, but it has taught valuable lessons similar to yours not to allow bullying in any situation that we have control of no matter who is doing it.