Monday, March 17, 2014

How Schools are Encouraging Bullying

My daughter has been bullied. She's only in second grade and seven years old, but she's already been bullied. Or maybe teased is a more apt term. Either way, the school she was attending turned a blind eye and even tried to make it seem as if she was having troubles socially, making friends, etc. This rang some bells for me as the same thing happened when I was in school. My parents even took me to a counselor who was teaching me how to make friends. Even at my young age, I quickly learned this was a bunch of hooey. Why was I having trouble making friends? It was simple. I was a nice person and kids were jerks.
They still are today.

I saw this story come across my news feed on Facebook. Basically this child (Grayson) brought a My Little Pony lunch sack to school because he likes the show. He was then teased and even physically bullied. Instead of addressing the bullying and trying to make it stop, the school asked Grayson not to bring the lunch sack to school because it "caused a disruption in the classroom."

This ridiculousness is what makes bullying keep getting worse and worse. What kind of message does this send to kids when they see the school respond in this manner? I'll tell you what it says to me. It says that if you are being an individual, expressing yourself, showing what you like, and some other kids don't like it, that they are in the right. It says that if kids are bullying and teasing you, that you are doing something wrong. You must be doing something wrong. There must be something wrong with you. It also says to the bullies. "Hey, go ahead and bully that kid who is different from you. The school officials will just tell them to stop being different."

This needs to stop. Now. Schools need to realize what they are doing when they make decisions like this. Do they not think these things through first? The best thing to do to get rid of bullies is to let them know that this bullying is not acceptable! How can we do this? Schools need to stop taking the bully's side! They need to realize that when a child is bullied for being different, the issue is not that the child is different. The issue is that the child was bullied. The first step is to let the parents know that the children are bullying so they can take steps to make it stop. We all know that this will not solve the problem in all cases. In fact, some parents may even encourage the bullies. If it doesn't stop the bullying, then the school needs to take further actions such as suspension or expulsion in extreme circumstances. They also need to listen to the victims and their parents and not belittle or discount what they say. My husband reported bullying brought up to him by our daughter and was told that she was "too sensitive". If a victim of bullying says they are being bullied, they are being bullied! No more of this "kids will be kids" stuff. I look at it this way. If I were at a job and I said someone was sexually harassing me, the employee relations department would look into it. Even if it was unfounded, they would still look into it. Shouldn't the schools operate in the same way with bullying? This is a huge issue and it will not be solved overnight, but the schools need to first stop blaming the victim and realize that they can't just turn a blind eye to bullies!

Speak out! If your child is bullied and the school tries to dismiss it, stand up for your kid! I know that most parents would do this without even being told, but this story is just all the more reason to do so! Don't let the schools bully you when your kid is bullied!