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For the last thirty years I have served as teacher, mentor, facilitator, and/or administrator in a hand full of public and private schools in the Western MA, as well as many private industry and corporate settings. What appalls me must about this issue is not that the students are front and center stage, for they certainly have a part. Rather in many incidents of bullying and plain out disrespect I have witnessed first hand teachers and parents as the true lead actors in this increasingly dysfunctional drama. Whether its on school grounds, in parent teacher meetings, in class rooms or in the board room many students have had many incidents where the learning of dysfunctional behavior comes from the very adults that are critiquing the play.
My fear though will be the moral out rage and the indignation or some of my colleagues who feel that because they are overburdened, underpaid or under appreciated, frustrated with work conditions or what ever fuels their belief that this some how entitles them to abuse and bully students into compliance. Yelling and screaming, does not move a person into understanding or accepting responsibility for their actions, rather gains a false sense of control and ownership for the moment with the student and adults only repeating the same undesirable behavior.
If we truly expect bullying and similar behaviors to be reduced we had better do a better job of demonstrating the behavior we expect in the students and adults we work with if we want a better classroom or community environment. The simplest acts of responsible and respectful interaction create the true reflection for the community we so desperately want for our selves as well as our students. All we need do is stay on script, we know the performance that is required, our students and communities deserve our best.
Cyberbullying has become a big problem where I teach. We found a movie created by a Stanford Graduate student to be effective in dealing with this problem. It's called, "Adina's Deck," and is geared particularly towards middle school girls where the problem is running rampant. It can be purchased through the website of the same name. It's worth a look!
I was just wondering if the school you attend in Sarnia is Lambton College. I'm currently a student there, and I am a huge advocate for anti-bullying programs and preventative measures. If nothing else, please know that you are never alone! People do care.