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.