21 December 2008

Bullying in School.

Well, I wrote a comment on another blog a while ago and hadn't looked back until recently to see if someone commented on my comment. I think that's one of the harder things about having lots of blog friends and following their blogs... You could sign up for comment follow-up by email if you like, but then you'll be reading about 5,003 emails each day and most of them are irrelevant.

I mean, if I'm typing, "Yay for Pugsly's graduation!" or some such thing that doesn't need a back-and-forth, I'll get 50 other people writing "GO Pugsly" and all their followups wind up in my inbox or whatever. Which, I guess is fine, except I might not know these other 50 friends and was just kinda saying yay for Pugsly and not really caring about the other 50 people's input on the matter, especially when you consider that I might get 300 emails a day at that rate.

Anyway.

This was a comment I wrote a long time ago, and because of the nature of what I'm discussing I'm not going to link. I just want to see what people who read *my* blog think about it.

OK.

The post was about bullying in public schools and how some kids get away with it. Oh, especially those nasty special-needs kids. And what kind of icky special needs do you have to deal with in your classroom...? oh, and how outrageous is this or that you had to deal with in your class. You know, kind of a public school teacher commisseration kind of thing. And some of those stories were really crummy. (As were some of the attitudes of the people living with the crummy situations.)

One was about a student who had a behaviour problem and everyone knew it. And the teacher was expected to just deal with it somehow and good luck. Oh, no aide for this lady, either. You have to feel for her. Meanwhile, Mom's calling in to the school and upset about little Prunella's problem with this or that and how the teacher could have handled it better.

Which, you know, maybe she could've. I wasn't there. Not that I'm going to say that because um, when was the last time I got upset with my own kids and didn't do things perfectly? Hm? And here of course, the administration backs up Prunella's mom, the teacher is supposed to be somehow perfect in her administration of justice with 35 kids in her class while trying to teach. It saves the district money that way, ya know. There's also that idea that you *only* need to keep your cool for, what? Ten hours a day or so? You can lose it on your own time at home with your own kids.

Anyway. The gist of the post was that bullying needs to stop! We need more anti-bullying programs and we need to kick the bullies into detention, etc... Which, you know, would really be *great* if you're the teacher. Then the special-needs kid or child with the behaviour disorder who was messing up not only your day but the 35 other kids in your class, is gone! Poof and no more problem!

But I just wrote FWIW that the bullies aren't always other students, and for that matter, kicking out "problem" children doesn't help the kid with the "problem"... what to do about that? And sometimes the bullies are teachers, and I wondered aloud what kind of programs are in place for that? It sure seems like every week there is a new program out dealing with bullying between students. One of the cornerstones of those seems to be making OTHER STUDENTS feel safe in reporting problems. I mean, we can talk about kids like they get three strikes and you're out... implementing programs and this and that, but I'm thinking that if you're talking about empowering kids to make changes in their classes that's a big area that isn't addressed AT ALL. The teachers. And how to report bullying teachers.

Well, I returned later to see what others had to say ... What do you think they said?

I got ignored.

Are you surprised?

But then I figured it was just shop talk between public ed teachers mostly so that's kewl too, I suppose. Though I've seen some retired teachers and private-school teachers looking like they were welcome enough. But I hope that unless someone's condescending and rude, that I would *welcome* comments from teachers and about anybody else and not get all cliquish if it were my blog. I mean, I run an unapologetically a mostly Christian homeschool blog, but door's open and coffee is on for anyone who wants to lounge around and be friendly kind of place.

(Snotty people, I'm not so nice with. If you don't like that, go get your own blog. And have a nice day, ok? God bless you in your search for a new bridge to hide under-- oh, I mean-- a new blog title.)

I went back and re-read my post to make SURE that I wasn't coming across as nasty or impolite. Looked in the sidebars to see if there were a "this blog is for teachers only" type of disclaimer. Ah well. Maybe it was just the message (some teachers aren't perfect and maybe a few are even abusive?? maybe??) that wasn't popular.

So. Maybe I should just ask people who read what the "solution" (or as close as you can get to one?) would be for bullying in public school. I'm also going to include teachers, administrators, and other staff such as bus drivers into the mix. Hey, it's my blog. This blog is for, um, for "people who can say nice things in the comment section, or at least disagree nicely."

There you go. I'm ready to hear it!

10 comments:

  1. I honestly think the teachers should not have to deal with the behavior problems in the classroom. It takes one bad apple to ruin the bunch. anyway I have seen special needs kids in classrooms that were so bad they didn't even know where they were and the medical needs are too overwhelming for school. sometimes I think its just to give the parents time off so they ship them off to school with the line that I want them to be mainstreamed. These kids are special but should not be at the exspense of the other kids. Teachers are expected to do way too much because of slacking parents. Don't get me wrong I have had my issues the entire time my daughter was in school because of her ADD. Last but not least I'll bet if you have a bullying child then there is a bullying parent at home.

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  2. I'm probably going to get a good blog smack for saying this, but I agree with the gist of much of what you're saying. Some of these "emotionally disturbed" kids, they mainstream them WITHOUT telling the parents. One very violent child I knew was going to be mainstreamed and I told the teacher um, you do NOT want me calling all the other moms, do you? So this kid is NOT sitting with my kid in the front and I don't care what his IEP says.

    (LOL that stopped it right there. BUT he was still in the same class.)

    But guess what?

    I met another sweet, SWEET little boy who shyly told me about his troubles in class. Being STABBED violently with pencils by this same boy, coming home all bloody and hurt. The mom just thought, well, we need to be nice to others so let it go.

    NO.

    That's not fair to YOUR child. Please go complain. You can be polite about it, but children should never be afraid to go to school. Wasn't long after that some of the very awful things were documented (in part with help from this shy student and very shy mom) and the child sadly had to go to another school. I didn't really feel victorious about it, didn't have it out for the kid. He just had a chance to prove himself and didn't do so great.

    My son Elf is autistic and would have been fine had he had his own aide and a couple breaks to "hide" during the day. Instead, when he would go "hide," they'd drag him out and lock him in a closet for his "defiance" and being "manipulative." Which... yeah, I guess he GOT to that point. But there can be some level of mainstreaming there before you're into the ditch of over-accomodation. Drawing the line in the sand the way they did with Elf IMO was not helpful and demonstrated the staff's lack of understanding of the nature of autism. He's more the turtle in the shell kind of guy.

    I see a lot on how to deal with disruptive students but a LOT has to do with why the kid is disruptive. Mine was autistic (still is). The other suffered horribly in foster homes, etc. before his placement.

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  3. I've been an aide & got the disruptive kids. Most of mine were behavioural isues more than special needs but I think the bottom line is the same. Disruptive kids should not be in a regular classroom. Most need one on one, which is expensive & why it's not being done. Bullies do not belong in a school. Children should be sent home for their parents to deal with; a growing area of homeschooling out here ~ kids who have been removed for their own safety & those who have been expelled! I don't know what you do about the teachers. I've meet idiots who should never be let anywhere near a child & cetainly nowhere near an emotionally hormone driven teen but they're still teaching. Maybe they should do a freudian psychological profile on the mental suitability of being in a confined space with 25~30 jumping beans before they issue teaching credits?

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  4. Ganeida, as you know the bottom line CAN be the same if the children aren't able to function without extra help. I think this particular young man probably could NOT, no matter how much help was given. At least right then.

    Other children might do better with an aide or smaller classes. Still better would be an integrated class where parents might WANT to put their child, but understanding other kids there have special needs. The tradeoff would be maybe six kids per class instead of 30. I know that in our district's "special needs" preschool, parents wanted to send their regular kiddos off because of the small classes and the little busses that would transport kids right to the door. They'd even pay tuition to let their child in with the special needs kids as a "mentor."

    For classes like art and music, at least in the younger grades, I think a lot of "accomodation" is doable for almost any child. It just saddens me to see that EVERY Downs Syndrome child (or child WITH Downs Syndrome, whichever you prefer) is shunted to building x, gifted children are bussed to building y, and etc. when the state gives aid based on the child's disability. I think it leads the gifted children to think the other children either don't exist or are 'less than,' and not have to learn to handle them socially. If they could at least do art together, it would teach the gifted children some compassion and maybe reinforce to the other children that yes, they are part of the school and society at large or however you want to put it.

    But yeah, past a certain point (like the young man I talked about) you just CAN NOT do anything for the child right then. Maybe go back to another class, work on the meds and get some more help, and try later. Try slower. Maybe more support next time, or integrate two children with an aide in the same class all at once. (The teacher-student ratio at the place they came from is about one staff per two students anyway.)

    I hear what you're saying, though. Sometimes parents think momma's little precious has more rights than the other kids. And that's wrong.

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  5. Maybe I should clarify. I was talking disruptive disruptive. The throw chairs around the room, wreck havoc & endanger theirs & other's body & limb disruptive. {I've been refused entry into a classroom as the teacher felt she couldn't guarrentee my safety; that's seriously disruptive] I beilieve in accomodating otherwise. We're all in this together & we all need to adjust to each other's differences.

    The whole G&T thing is a major bugbear of mine [I've got 2 who landed with this label & it just makes me see red]So often people think just academics but it includes everything & while often kids are very able academically their real gift/interest is outside academics but no~one ever wants to address that. Aaargh! I hate the education system! As if one size fits all was *ever* gonna work!

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  6. Well, I can't imagine dealing with my special needs child while trying to manage a class of 30+ or 35+ students. I used to tell the "team" at her IEP's, "The least restrictive environment is not necessarily a mainstreamed classroom. It is the least restrictive environment that accommodates her atypical neurodevelopment."

    To which I heard that Marissa needed to learn how to get along in a regular environment. First, that is like telling me that I need to start putting everything up higher so that I can learn not to be 5'1" tall. Second, not accommodating my daughter's needs with an appropriate environment is just the same as not putting in ramps for a child who is in a wheelchair -- both are negligent.

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  7. Yesterday was a travel day so I'm behind here. Sorry.

    My two cents:

    Homeschool.

    That solves all these problem [laughing].

    As for bad teachers... my class got one fired because she was so bad. But there are others who are "in the system" and impossible to dispose of. The system is flawed.

    ...so... umm... homeschool [smile].

    If only it were that easy.

    ~Luke

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  8. Oh, and the follow up on the comment you made on another blog, and the email deluge, and the forgetting to go back, and the not remembering which blog had what...

    I'm totally there with you!

    Resonating.

    ~Luke

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  9. Julie, I hear you. I really do. But also, I'm feeling like people like Marissa need love and acceptance from their "neurotypical" peers and if she's at all able, at least art/ music/ pe should be integrated. If she's AT ALL able, she should get to eat lunch with the other kids.

    I genuinely feel like other kids miss out on learning the TRUE meaning of "tolerance" when they do not have to handle other people who are outside the "norm." (You know what I mean without my searching for a precise definition.)

    I think also the school wants the MONEY for these students, but doesn't want to spend it on kids like Marissa. Or Elf. You know, I'm in the same boat with Elf because he can hold a conversation and "looks so normal!" Aaargh.

    Luke, I can honestly say that I was PUSHED into homeschooling by my circumstances.

    I enjoy it. I wouldn't trade it. But I was pushed.

    It discourages me, not so much that there ARE public schools, but that there are parents like me whose children are still in them. Who either don't know that they have an alternative, or they live in a state where homeschooling is a difficult option, or they don't understand about homeschooling.

    One mom I saw in the library was case in point. She's nagging at her kid for getting D's and needs to do this research project or else... or else... DAMMIT SHE'LL HOMESCHOOL HIS SORRY ASS!

    Maw, he countered (and I am NOT making this up,) I'm not RETARDED or nothin'.

    LOL

    I'm thinking, low-class as that dialogue was, that there is that idea that homeschooling is for backwards people like religious zealots (um, which I was BEFORE I started homeschooling? anyway...) or kids who are super-bright or super-unsmart.

    I guess it's impossible to be mediocre or average and homeschool? Can there never be a headline that says "NORMAL Family secularly homeschools two children, one boy and one girl. Considers it just another educational option."

    Guess not.

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  10. PS Luke, Patrick's class also "lost" a long-term substitute at the end of last year. The lady was there to teach Spanish for a teacher on maternity leave.

    She doesn't know Spanish.

    Worksheets.

    No class learning AT ALL going on, kids all talking and partying. No work being done.

    After about a MONTH, the lady gets notice. I'm not kidding; Patrick said that they pulled a LADY FROM THE CAFETERIA to do the duty after that.

    I had to wonder two things:

    1. WWNEAD? (What would the NEA do? LOL)

    2. Does this lady know Spanish? And don't you think if she does, she'd actually be MORE QUALIFIED to teach than the certified teacher they pitched?? Hm??

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)