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Shocking Teachers' Views on Bullying
August 8, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Recently I had the opportunity to discuss the subject of bullying with several teachers. I was surprised by their reaction when I brought the subject up.  All of them had the same response, they said bullying has gone on for decades, was a normal part of life, and not something which they had the power to control/stop.

I am not saying that every teacher on the planet shares their views. 

The teachers with whom I was discussing this subject were from different states and towns, which gave me the impression that their views were shared by other teachers across state/town lines.

My questions are these:

Why are (some) teachers' views on bullying so drastically different than those of the general public?

Why do they not see the danger inherent in bullying and the severe damage it does to some children?

Why do they think they are powerless to intervene when they are right there, on the front lines of the bully/victim interaction?



Replies

  • cjsbmom
    by cjsbmom
    August 8, 2012 at 12:52 PM


    Quoting Veni.Vidi.Vici.:


    Quoting cjsbmom:

    Sadly, a lot of bullying goes on outside the school walls. With technology the way it is, cyber bullying has changed the face of bullying.

    I also think a lot of teachers just don't want bothered. They don't think it's their job.

    You can only curb what you witness and take care of what you know about as a teacher. If Sally is crying in the bathroom all day long but no one ever sees the 'abuse' or Sally doesn't share why she's sad there isn't a lot that can be done. Kids suffering outwardly but silently is fairly common, too.

    Yes, it is.

  • pagancuriosity
    August 8, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    My husband is a teacher and I asked him about this....he said a huge reason why teachers are cautious about getting involved is b/c it can end up costing them their jobs. You get a parent who thinks their kid shits rainbows and you tell them that they are a bully, and watch how fast the superindendent of the school is invovled. And a parent can end up tying up the entire school system if angry enough. My husband actually has to deal with a bully of a parent of a student of his. He has a fair grading system and this student doesn't always perform as well, therefore doesn't get the grades her mother thinks she's entitled to. She has called the superindendent on my husband a few times. Every time, the principal asks my husband to back down, but he refuses. So, a lot of times, it's the parents holding the teachers back from doing anything productive about bullies.

  • Veni.Vidi.Vici.
    August 8, 2012 at 1:06 PM


    Quoting pagancuriosity:

    My husband is a teacher and I asked him about this....he said a huge reason why teachers are cautious about getting involved is b/c it can end up costing them their jobs. You get a parent who thinks their kid shits rainbows and you tell them that they are a bully, and watch how fast the superindendent of the school is invovled. And a parent can end up tying up the entire school system if angry enough. My husband actually has to deal with a bully of a parent of a student of his. He has a fair grading system and this student doesn't always perform as well, therefore doesn't get the grades her mother thinks she's entitled to. She has called the superindendent on my husband a few times. Every time, the principal asks my husband to back down, but he refuses. So, a lot of times, it's the parents holding the teachers back from doing anything productive about bullies.

    This is very dependant upon the administration within the school and the district, but it's far from typical IMO.

  • jhslove
    by jhslove
    August 8, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    I was bullied in later elementary and junior high, and I am also a teacher. So I've seen it from both ends. Forgive me if this is long......

    Very often, the bullying takes place where a teacher can't see--in the lunchroom, on the playground or on the school bus. I was bullied severely, and almost none of it happened in the classroom. Bullies aren't stupid; they're not going to do it right in front of the teacher. They're going to wait until their victim is relatively defenseless and there's no adult nearby who can help.  With cyberbullying, it's gotten even worse--much of the bullying (especially among girls) is done by text and Facebook.

    Also, I do believe the definition of "bullying" has changed, as many others have said. I've had many instances of young kids coming to me and saying, "She's bullying me!" When you dig a little deeper, you find that the "bullying" was actually a kid calling another a name, or not wanting to play together, or taking a toy. None of these actions are nice or okay, but they're not bullying either. The definition of "bullying" is when someone is victimized in a systematic manner, and where there is a real or perceived imbalance in power or strength between the two (for example, a bigger kid repeatedly beating up a smaller one or taking his lunch money using threats or intimidation, or a group of girls repeatedly making snide comments about a particular victim and excluding that victim, or sending out photos or nasty messages about someone using Facebook or text message).

    I'm going to put myself out there and say that a lot of the time when kids say they're being "bullied", the real problem is that they're being treated in a way that they may justifiably have a problem with, but they don't know how to solve interpersonal problems themselves without running to an adult to fix the problem. We spend a lot of time working with kids to differentiate between real bullying and when someone just does something that makes you upset. One is worthy of telling a teacher and the school needs to get involved, but the other is an opportunity for kids to learn interpersonal skills and resilience.

    Please don't mistake me for wanting to minimize the damage done by true bullying. I was the victim of it, and it did eventually get so bad that my parents removed me from public school for a year. However, the school made every effort to intervene and it still didn't stop the bullying. It was based on the school bus, in the cafeteria and by phone (I didn't have a computer or a cell phone, so I was spared from any cyberbullying.) I place the blame not on the shoulders of the teachers or the school, but on the kids who bullied me and the parents who didn't feel the need to do anything about it. I will say that often, the girls who bullied me with nasty comments, exclusion and humiliation seemed to have learned those tactics from watching their own mothers. It seems that "mean girls" grow up to be just older versions of themselves. Some mature and change, but many don't.

    I'm embarrassed to say that on one occasion, I was actually the bully. I joined my classmates in making fun of another girl (who was actually one of my only friends). It was wrong and I am ashamed to this day, but in my twelve-year-old mind, the lure of fitting in with the popular crowd was stronger than me feeling that what I was doing was wrong. When my mom found out, which she did because she got a phone call from the mother of my friend, she was so angry and disappointed in me that I remember to this day how sick and ashamed I felt to have treated another person that way. She didn't care about being my friend or about making me feel ashamed--in fact, she WANTED me to feel ashamed, because shame is an appropriate thing to feel when you've purposely done something wrong. The fault here lies with the bullies and their parents who often don't want to believe that their little angel could possibly do wrong or else don't feel like actually PARENTING at the expense of being all buddy-buddy with their child. It does not lie with the schools.

    Why are (some) teachers' views on bullying so drastically different than those of the general public?

    Why do they not see the danger inherent in bullying and the severe damage it does to some children?

    Why do they think they are powerless to intervene when they are right there, on the front lines of the bully/victim interaction?




  • mommychelle01
    August 8, 2012 at 1:19 PM
    I babysit a 6 yr old boy every now and then.. yesterday he stayed with me and after only two days of school, he broke down in tears and told me how the other kids called him ugly. I asked who and he said almost the whole class. I can't help but wonder where they are at and where the teachers are for so many to be bullying at once.
  • Veni.Vidi.Vici.
    August 8, 2012 at 1:22 PM
    While that is heartbreaking, is it completely true?
    Is it possible one child made the hurtful remark and he has assumed his other classmates feel similarly?


    Quoting mommychelle01:

    I babysit a 6 yr old boy every now and then.. yesterday he stayed with me and after only two days of school, he broke down in tears and told me how the other kids called him ugly. I asked who and he said almost the whole class. I can't help but wonder where they are at and where the teachers are for so many to be bullying at once.
  • kaffedrikke
    August 8, 2012 at 1:27 PM
    Sometimes maybe the victim needs to.cold cock the bully. However and I know, the victim gets punoshed.
  • jhslove
    by jhslove
    August 8, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    I'm sure it was hurtful to be called ugly, but when I read this my thought is that either it was one or two kids (which to a young child can SEEM like "almost the whole class"), or that it happened outside the classroom, where there was no adult within earshot. I've never, ever, EVER seen a circumstance where a whole class of kids starts calling one victim names when the teacher is right there.

    When I was that age, kids called me names too. When I told my parents, they said they were sorry and that must have hurt my feelings. Then they taught me the rhyme about "sticks and stones may break my bones" and that I could choose whether or not to listen when someone called me names. Basically, they taught me to dust myself off and have some resilience, not to let every name or mean comment get to me. They weren't trying to be insensitive, but they were trying to teach me that there will always be mean people, and the only way to make it is to have the inner strength to keep your head up no matter what. Kids call each other names. It isn't nice, but it's a fact of life and name calling isn't necessarily the same thing as bullying.

    Quoting Veni.Vidi.Vici.:

    While that is heartbreaking, is it completely true?
    Is it possible one child made the hurtful remark and he has assumed his other classmates feel similarly?


    Quoting mommychelle01:

    I babysit a 6 yr old boy every now and then.. yesterday he stayed with me and after only two days of school, he broke down in tears and told me how the other kids called him ugly. I asked who and he said almost the whole class. I can't help but wonder where they are at and where the teachers are for so many to be bullying at once.

     

  • Aurora-Dove
    August 8, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    I think at this point parents tend to blame a lot of crap on teachers, bad grades? because the teacher isn't doing her job right since surely little Susie can do no wrong. Discipline the child these days...yeah right, Little Johnny's mom would probably report her to the school board for hurting this feelings. Bullying has always gone on, Kid's were just taught better coping techniques before, and adults in charge were allowed more disciplinary leniency. Now if a teacher even sits their hand on a student's shoulder or pats them on the back they get a lawsuit for harassment. I think the reason teachers feel powerless is their fear of what parents might say or do. Yes you may be upset that your precious child is getting picked on, but the boy picking on her parents would probably go ape shit on the teacher and school for suggesting disciplinary action, medical treatment if it is a mental issue, or therapy. I remember my dad telling me when I was a little girl that I was not allowed to throw the first punch but if someone were to hit me that I damn well better win the fight and that I was not to put up with bullying! My friend told her kid this as well because some boys were picking on him on the school bus and the school wouldn't do anything about it. He is 6 years old, he finally had enough and one of the boys smacked him in the head, he punched him in the nose, and the other boy in the stomach one good time and those boys haven't messed with him since. I think part of the issue these days is discipline has changed. When I was a kid if I did something wrong, I got my tale tore up. I am not afraid of my parents, nor was I then. I don't have a horrible mental disorder now because of it, I don't need therapy because my parents disciplined me, and I thank them on a regular basis for raising me the way they did, teaching me right from wrong, because I knew how to act and still do. I loved my parents, and they taught me well, treated me well, and I knew I better not act up!

  • mommychelle01
    August 8, 2012 at 1:39 PM
    No, he was pretty specific in who said what and how many people were involved. He isn't one to lie or exaggerate.

    Quoting Veni.Vidi.Vici.:

    While that is heartbreaking, is it completely true?

    Is it possible one child made the hurtful remark and he has assumed his other classmates feel similarly?




    Quoting mommychelle01:

    I babysit a 6 yr old boy every now and then.. yesterday he stayed with me and after only two days of school, he broke down in tears and told me how the other kids called him ugly. I asked who and he said almost the whole class. I can't help but wonder where they are at and where the teachers are for so many to be bullying at once.

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