Friday, October 23, 2015

Bullies are ever with us

Remember the kid who growled at you and demanded your lunch money? Well, these days that bully maybe a teen girl who posts on Facebook that you are a slut.

There is a film called "Bully," which is being used to educate teachers, notably at Texas Tech.

To learn, say educational experts, kids must feel safe and supported. Teachers have to be more than good at their subjects--they have to be effective classroom managers.

Bullying is characterized by aggression, or intent to harm, repetition, and a difference in power between the bully and the target.

Many forms of bullying abound these days:

--Corn dogging--kneeing a kid in the tailbone (painful)

--Boys snapping bras

--Or What Are Those? Sneering at a student not wearing a brand name and yelling "What are those?"

--Internet harassing or shaming.

Most likely to be bullied are kids with less power, meaning awkward, poor, sexual minority, ethnic...etc.

And who are the bullies? Kids who are well liked but manipulators, for one. They fool the teachers with their sparkly personalities. And of course, there are just the mean kids, too.

The film and the workshops are to give teachers a heads up.

And you parents? Do you get it? We don't want these kids to be miserable or even kill themselves--nor do we want them intimidating others.

If your kid does not want to go to school or is depressed and you suspect bullying, you need to drill into it--talk about it.

If your kid is accused of being a bully--above all, don't brush it off with "Boys will be boys." Or: "Kids--they will work it out."

Sometimes they don't.

My daughter was bullied in middle school--she was in a tight clique of girls and one day they gave her a written letter saying she was out, they did not want to be friends with her anymore.

She was crushed. I never found out until years later.

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