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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Bullying in the Middle School

Bullying in the Middle School

Related Tags: 6-8 Middle School
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60 Replies 2103 Views
Bullying comes in many different forms, and by middle school the damage that a bully can inflict can last for a lifetime. For some kids the bullying is an extension of that which occurred in elementary school. For others, it begins in middle school, when the differences in sizes, shapes, and personalities become more evident, gaining more attention from peers and schoolyard enemies.

For middle schoolers, the internal conflict of "Who am I? Am I the same as everyone or different from everyone?" takes on an external nature and, at times, manifests itself in bullying.

But are we doing enough to combat the different forms of bullying? Does the staff at your school know what forms bullying takes, where bullying occurs (both on and off campus), and what their role in fighting bullying is?

Are students at ease in finding an adult to confide in?

Do students really know what bullying is, or do they "suck it up" and keep quiet because it's "just the way things are?"

For that matter, do teachers feel it's just the way things are, or worse, do teachers bully as well?

What happens when the formally oppressed become the tormentors? Does that change how a school reacts to a bully?

It is our duty as teachers to look at ourselves clearly and honestly to help find answers to these questions. It is our responsibility to keep these students safe in our care as well as to help them achieve. And, let's face it, a frightened student does not an achiever make.

Join in the discussion and share your thoughts, anecdotes, and solutions.

-Heather WG

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Patrick McMillan's picture
Patrick McMillan
Single dad (2 boys, 12 yrs & 9 yrs) Denver, Colorado

I also recommend you look into www.bullies2buddies.com. The creator of this program that teaches kids to stand up and not be victims, Izzy Kalman will be a special guest on an amazing FREE interview series for parents and teachers in October called Happier Kids Now,featuring over 20 experts in child/teen development among many others. see www.happierkidsnow.com

Louis Sylvester's picture

I agree with your thoughts and analysis. Where can we go to get researched based and proven strategies for dealing with this issue as soon as these students enter middle school? I think it is important to teach kids how not to be bullied as much as it is important to teach kids about what bullying is. lsylvester@northwarren.org

Louis Sylvester's picture

What proven researched based strategies are out there? I believe we have to teach kids how not to be bullied and what to do if they are being bullied to empower them. I think that is as important as identifying what bullying is. We have had several assemblies over the years and we even started a Peer Leadership group and a Rachel's Challenge group to open up the lines of communication between students.

Angel Bivins's picture

I think it is interesting to see how students react when they are presented with acutal reasons why they should not bully. I am a new teacher, and it always amazes me at the things middle school students say to one another, and it makes me very sad. I hope that by reading these blogs I am able to learn more strategies to help my students develop.

Bob Sullo's picture
Bob Sullo
author, educational consultant

I just finished an article for the Virginia Journal of Education about bullying. If things go as planned it should be available in September. I examine the motivation behind bullying and offer a prevention model (as well as how to intervene when prevention doesn't work.) I'll try to remember to post something here when it's published for anyone who wants to read it. In case I forget, you can check my website in September. I'm sure I'll have a link once it's published. My web address: www.internalmotivation.net

Michael Couch's picture

Wow! Profound. Thanks to this parent who wants to be a part of the solution. Such teamwork is invaluable to schools when addressing bullying or any concern for that matter.

Carol Parker's picture
Carol Parker
7/8 Drama, Film, Honors & Regular Language Arts

I am very frightened for our country as I see many adults lacking in compassion. Children must think this is normal. Television shows have not helped teach manners and common sense and courtesy. It is a privilege to teach the arts and introduce beauty to children. Our entire nation reveals a lack of culture, literacy, love of learning, language and reaching out to one another. There is blame and name calling. Where has all the kindness gone?

This bullying may be a reflection of adult behavior. Politicians talk about not allowing teachers who are in certain "categories/groups" to not be allowed to teach. Adults talk about certain groups of people being "sinners" while others are not. What is with this ignorance and arrogance. This is not free speech. This is lacking in critical thinking and creates fear. This message of one group being superior and another being inferior is certainly heard by children. I believe this adult homophobia has trickled into the schoolyard and contributed to the already pre-teen lack of sensitivity which exists in that age group.

Not bullying is taught at HOME. The by-stander and doing something cruel to another person should never be kept a secret and every school should be safe. PERIOD.

Teachers MUST talk about current news story's which affect every teen all over the world. Children have the right to know that it could be them and that it is very real and can happen to them. The school is just as responsible as the home because children are at school longer than they are home.

As a parent I expect teachers to re-enforce what I do at home to teach compassion through literature and social studies, and as a teacher I expect the parents to re-enforce what I am doing to teach compassion and manners in the home.

It has to take a village. Or it obviously just does not work. Let's get it together, America.

Marianne McGhee's picture

Bullying in not just a problem for Middle and High School Students. I teach 1st grade, and I see it starting in my grade level. Luckily I work with a group of professionals who do not allow this kind of behavior and we work very hard to teach these little ones better ways to communicate.

I also think many parents would be surprised to know that their child is bullying another child. Communication between teachers and parents is so important. As teachers we need to communicate to the parents not just about academic observations but also about the child's social skills. Parents should also communicate with teachers about major events happening in the home. To help reduce bullying in schools, everyone must work together to solve this problem.

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