No, surrender! No, retreat!

My daughter reported last week that one of the boys in her class has been struggling with a bully in their school. The teacher stopped the lesson and had a discussion about bullying and, if my daughter is reporting correctly, essentially told the kids that it’s up to them to stop the bully. The kid in question won’t listen to adults at all, but if kids his own age stand up to him he’ll listen. She encouraged the kids to start coming en masse to the rescue of anyone being bullied and telling the bully they won’t tolerate it.

I’ve not heard yet if or how this strategy has worked. I suppose it could work. That’s not what concerns me. This teacher essentially admitted to the kids that adults are powerless against kids. There is nothing the teachers can do about this bully, so the kids are on their own to solve the problem.

Yikes.

No wonder kids are bringing guns to school and shooting their classmates. When the adults, the people who are supposed to be keeping them safe, can’t get the job done, what are kids supposed to do? I’m sorry, but if it’s coming to that, please tell me how getting paddled by a principal is more harmful than being shot by a peer? Please tell me how expelling this bully is worse than having his victim laying on the classroom floor during instructional time with a paper over his face moaning that he wishes someone would just kill him?

When are we going to wake up and take responsibility for this messed up world we’ve created? When adults are afraid or unable to be the adults our kids are lost. Who cares about how our kids’ test scores compare against kids in other countries when our kids are too afraid for their lives to be able to learn? How are they supposed to care about multiplying three digit numbers by three digit numbers when they’ve got to figure out how to stop a bully because the teachers surrendered control of the playground?

What happened? When did we become a nation afraid of our own children?

5 thoughts on “No, surrender! No, retreat!”

  1. I have a different perspective. Studies have shown that peers are more effective at stopping bullying than adults. Bullies don’t usually bully in front of the adults, they look for the vulnerable ones who don’t belong to a group or have trouble being accepted. I don’t think the bullying information presented in the schools encourages a child to fight an adult’s battles or tells them to solve frightening situations on their own. From what I understand, it is meant to encourage the silent majority to say that they don’t like how a peer is being treated. A lot of bullying is not physical (although it may escalate to that if not stopped) and therefore doesn’t present a dangerous situation to peers. When an adult sees bullying and intervenes it may only be temporary relief until until the next time, but when the bully’s peers say we don’t accept your actions the difference for the victim can be huge. It seems no different to me than what we teach our children to do in Primary–stand up for others–which does require courage, but of a different kind than facing actual harm. And since studies have proven (insofar as the statistics are reliable) the effectiveness of peer intervention, I see no reason why children shouldn’t be told the truth. The sad truth is that bullying can go on right under a caring adult’s nose–it happened last year at our school for a whole year and the adults were clueless, even the parents, until the last day of school. But peers know.

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