Sunday, September 7, 2008

What to do about bullying in school?

Michael Bloomberg, NYC mayor, recently announced regulations meant to combat bullying in schools. I don't think legislating rules is the best way to combat this universal problem.

Bullying happens. Unfortunately, some teachers are unaware of it even when it is happening right in front of them. My theory, untested, is that anyone, having been the victim of bullying in school, is more aware of it than other people.

Teachers need to be made aware of the signs of bullying and be given tools that they can use in the halls and classrooms to help mitigate bullying. The other side of the equation is student training. School administrations should be running programs in the schools that help students 'buy into' a school culture of kindness, equity, and of course, non-violence. A former colleague used to say, "Those kids need to be paper trained." Kidding aside, the students often do need to be trained and the adults in the school environment need to recognize the seeds of harassment.

And violent students should be removed from the schools.

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