Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Just a Thought on Bullying

I don't know if this is true.  It's just a theory.

In high school I saw first hand the difference a good principal and leader can make.  My first year at the school I got a 97 average the first quarter.  The second quarter I was walking down the hall and the principal said hi to the kids who were in trouble all the time and had no idea who I was.  For three years I watched as students would be sent to the office only to be sent back to the classroom.  Nothing got better.

My sophomore year Br. Paul Beaudin became principal.  Now when students were sent to the office they had a good chance of being sent home, sometimes for good.  It was a private school and Br. Paul had the luxury of expelling troublemakers.  I saw a lot of kids who had been trouble in the past turn themselves around.  The whole school was better for it.

But it got me thinking about schools where the principal doesn't have that luxury.  Where did the troublemakers go?  On top of that I heard stories about parents defending their kids bad behavior, and from an outsiders perspective, it seemed as if the public schools in the area were edging more and more towards a climate in which teachers were afraid to discipline students for fear of being disciplined themselves.  Eventually, it wouldn't be worth it, and the inmates, as the saying goes, would be running the prison.

Granted I come from Schenctady school district, and not too far from that is Albany, a school that  counts stabbings the way other schools count missed homework assignments, so my perspective of the public school system is a bit skewed.

Now there is a national outcry to stop bullying.  Has bullying gotten worse in the past few years?  I don't know, I'm not in school, but I do know this, at least when I was a kid I got to go home at the end of the day and what I didn't have to see was a bunch of nasty comments on my Facebook page.  Not everyone today has that luxury.

But that isn't really the point.  I don't think Facebook is to blame.  So who is?  Well, I already said it: The inmates are running the show.  Teachers aren't just supposed to discipline students, they are supposed to protect them, but the two often go hand in hand.  How is a teacher supposed to protect one student when he or she can't discipline another?

You want to stop bullying, or at least reduce it because kids are kids and some bullying is going to happen, but if you want to stop serious bullying then the schools need to stop pandering to the bad kids and even more so the bad parents and give the teachers back their power.  Administrations need to step up or things are never going to get better.

But like I said, just a theory.

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