I've been thinking a lot about SEL in regards to my 10th grade females. There is a group of females picking on another female in one of my classes. They pick on her because of rumors that are going around the building about her and a number of different males. She's new to the school. She has done a lot of writing to me about the torment. I also see the females snickering or rolling their eyes when she walks into the room. I can control them in my classroom. I have a zero-tolerance policy for put-downs. But, I can't control what happens in the hallways, in the cafeteria, and in other classes.
On Friday, I sat the picked-on student down and one of the other females--the ring leader, I think. During the conversation the bully stated that she doesn't like the other girl because of the way she looks. She said that it makes her furious that she comes in with her hair "a mess." It was heart-breaking. I thought I was doing the right thing by sitting them down together--away from the rest of the class. But, maybe there is nothing I can do. Maybe I should just try to control the behavior in my classroom.
CLEARLY, I need to support these students--and all of my students--to become more socially and emotionally aware people. But I'm having a hard time right now even giving these females (the ones doing the bullying) a chance to be honest with their feelings because they are just so mean. I know, though, that their feelings of anger and hate come from a real place. I'm just not sure, right now, how to move forward.