Today is 10-20-10 and it is Spirit Day / Wear Purple day to combat bullying of LGBT students. Even if you’re not a fan of LGBTs you SHOULD wear purple today! …I mean common, bullying should never be acceptable. Bullying, whether you are LGBT or not, is a form of verbal and physical harassment. Outside of schools, as adults, such behavior can and has been met with legal action – sexual harassment, physical assault, stalking…these are only a few examples of adult bullying behaviors.
It boggles the mind that we as a culture can condemn child abuse/physical assaults in the news…yet when our children demonstrate these same behaviors we ((shake our heads vigorously)) and say “Stop that now kids!”
Children that would be “arrested” or at least thoroughly “scared” by police if they shoplifted lipstick are having violent and harassing behaviors reinforced socially via a lack of consequences. “No Bullying” policies are insufficient and un-enforceable due to the overworked underpaid teachers having their attentions diverted throughout the school day. As a former teacher, I know that it is impossible for teachers to monitor and stop all bullying behavior. And lets be honest, these schools are more concerned with test score consequences anyways.
The answer is not more policies that are ONLY enforceable selectively and within school walls. The answer is to create SOCIAL and LEGAL consequences akin to those faced by adults that exhibit the same behaviors. These consequences must also be backed by a social climate in which parents do NOT excuse or down play their child’s behaviors. However, as we know, there will ALWAYS be parents that are more concerned with siding with their child then setting an example. Hence, the reason that consequences for bullying of any kind should be met with external resolve separate from family and school. There needs to be an avenue for students to report bullying behaviors and receive support and protection from future behaviors and/or reprisals.
Bullying is a form of MENTAL and/or PHYSICAL abuse.