JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ON THE MATTER OF BULLYING AND SCHOOLS – HOW SIMPLISTIC POLLS CAN YIELD MEANINGLESS RESPONSES – NONSENSE THAT HALF OF CANADIANS HAVE BEEN BULLIED   Leave a comment

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO AN EDITORIAL IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Well, as with all simplistic poll questions, you get a meaningless response, but why does the Globe editorial proceed to treat the meaningless with the irrelevant?

Normal teasing and even the odd insult are not bullying, not by any sensible measure, and I’m sure that overwhelmingly that is the kind of activity showing up in the poll’s responses.

Physical abuse, mugging, and relentless abuse of a victim, however, are genuine bullying.

These have no more place in our society than assault and robbery and stalking on our streets.

We hire at great cost police and a vast justice system to help protect us from such treatment on the streets.

No one, except perhaps Rob Ford, thinks you dial 9-1-1 because someone teases or briefly insults you.

But in a school community, children and parents expect that it will be safe from the same acts we do not tolerate on our streets.

Sadly, this is often not the case.

Schools are communities, and the authorities of the communities are the adults. Children look to them for safety, but in so many cases today they look in vain.

The anti-bully programs with slogans and videos and t-shirts we have today are little more than a way for administrators to cover their behinds. Window dressing.

What is required are teachers and administrators who look out for and respond to such unacceptable behavior, but too often they are not paying any attention and even actively avoiding intervening to avoid the troubles of difficult children and difficult parents. In a word, their behavior often is just cowardly.

That is unacceptable, because they are the eyes and authorities of the school community.

Of course, there are more than a few teachers who themselves are bullies, but you just try getting anything done about them. Impossible.

We had zero-tolerance on violence – a good thing for the safety of the entire school community – but as soon as one ethnic group found its students in trouble more than others, the policy was dropped like a hot potato.

Yelling prejudice about stats is a pretty sad way to destroy a good policy.

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