How to Stop Bullying in Schools
By Tresa Magee, Assistant Principal, Phillis Wheatley High School
As a child, my bully was someone who, for whatever reason, decided that I should not participate in any of the campus’ “Reindeer Games,” and my bully made certain to spread the word to my peers in hopes that I would never be given the opportunity to participate. There were definitely days when the bully’s wish came true, and there were days when it did not. The irony of the situation is, although I was shunned on the school’s play ground, away from school, whether it was a game of street ball, or a series of STOP sign relays, I was ALWAYS a member of a team: not to mention, winning team.
I will admit that the treatment I received, while a little girl growing up and attending school in Mississippi, made me feel as if I was an outsider and un-liked. I had grown to hate RECESS because it was the time of the day that I was ridiculed and made to feel worthless.
Today, as an administrator in the largest school district in Texas, I witness and am privy of acts of bullying that actually makes me gasp for air.
Just recently, I handled a situation of Cyber Bullying that was multifaceted and that had been ongoing for at least four years. The situation had come to a “head” within the last five to six months, and was reported to administration. Fortunately, once reported, the situation was resolved within a few days.
Needless to say, some resolve was reached and all parties involved are safe, secure and mentally as well as physically, intact.
What is so astonishing about this incident of cyber bullying is the fact that my school’s principal found it very difficult to grasp. Not because of the intricate details involved, but rather because it was Cyber Bullying. The principal had expressed that cyber bullying was not an issue that he had ever experienced personally nor had he ever dealt with such. He could not fathom how cyber bullying came to be, nor could he fathom how the Information Highway and all that it entails could be the vehicle of such malice.
Bullying can affect anyone: It can and will rear its ugly head to the valedictorian as well as to the football jock. Mean and intentional ugliness is spewed to the “out crowd” as well as to the “in crowd”. No one has immunity. If a person comes into contact with another, then he or she is susceptible to being bullied.
The realization that my bully was and is unlike the multifaceted bully that today’s student experiences grounds and forces me to come to turns that bullying has been around for ages and that it recreates “itself “with each new invention and technological or biological advancement.
The challenge ahead of us: Awareness and acceptance that the “art form” of bullying exists, and becoming proactive in the realization and elimination of such a demon. We as administrators, as teachers, as parents/guardians, as counselors and as club/organization sponsors must actively seek information and programs that promotes awareness.
We mustn’t turn a blind eye to that which we are unfamiliar. We must arm ourselves with knowledge and must actively disseminate gained knowledge to our kids, to our students and to our community.
The remedy: directly facing the challenge(s) that lie ahead with a continuous forward movement. If we take proactive and precise measures, we will have taken the first steps to combat societal issues that plaque our classrooms and that carry over onto our play grounds. The key is to be persistent and relentless in the fight to recognize, understand, resolve and eradicate the actions of the bully; thereby dismantling the being of such a bully.
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:http://www.instantpresenter.com/AccountManager/RegEv.aspx?PIID=EA57D783884f