As a high school music teacher, I have experienced numerous in-services in regards to what I believe our “societal issues.” Racism. Drugs. Sex. Genderism. Bullying. And following every in-service that deals with “societal issues” I raise the question: WHY? Why did I sit through this in-service? How did it make me a better teacher and even possibly, a better person? “Why would you as a teacher be so ignorant to not “get it?” Answer: because when each of us sits through the “how to a make the school safe,” we attempt to and then all the sudden we (teachers) are told: YOU CARE TOO MUCH (another great topic for another blog). “Mr. Everts, your job is to teach music. That’s it.” Then, stop it with the “non-subject-in-services!” However, let it be known: TEACHERS TODAY DO MORE THAN TEACH THEIR SUBJECT. THEY TEACH “KIDS.”
Bullying. We are going to eradicate bullying? Now, who is the one who doesn’t get it? I can only give the reader life through my perspective, which includes being a high school teacher for twenty-seven years. Are ya ready: BULLYING WILL BE WITH US FOREVER! I know. Shocking! “Paul, how could you?” I have been alive for fifty years and I have not seen a day, week, month, year without bullying. As much as my “unicorn-rainbow friends” believe they can change the human being … it is not going to happen. Humans are as nice as they as they are mean.
So, when I read this article, I immediately thought: HAZAH – IRONY!! The pinnacle of BULLYING: A group of parents have hired an attorney “to pursue a possible class action lawsuit, claiming administrators infringed on students’ rights.” I strongly believe that when an attorney is hired to sue another that is the PINNACLE OF BULLYING. Not all cases, but when a group of people are willing to sue another group (person) without first meeting with “said” group and look for understanding – that meets my standard of bullying. A definition of bullying: use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants. What do lawsuits do? Use superior strength or influence to intimidate. ABSOLUTELY that is all over the case in this article.
Instead of looking for understanding of intentions, the parents were more interested in suing the school. Shame on them! Seriously!! What the —- are you teaching your children? You want to stop bullying and yet you are bullying the school. Awful.
The district says students were told they did not have to share if they did not feel comfortable, but parents say they wish they would have seen the questions prior to the workshop.” Why? In the end, why? I read the seven bullet points and found the questions to be questions we (teachers) would have had as issues at any “societal-issues” in-service. Parents have the IMPORTANT RIGHT to know what is going on at school. DUH! I do question their motives behind their “fact finding.” When students are told, “they did not have to share if they did not feel comfortable…” teach your son / daughter THAT IS ALWAYS THE CASE! Even as adults, if we do not feel comfortable, we need to make the choice not to participate and if that choice then hurts our standing with our job – then it is time for the attorney. In fact, their (students) saying, “Uh, Mr. Teacher. I am not going to participate” is MORE IMPORTANT a lesson than standing in a circle when you hear a statement that pertains to you! To be the individual “brave” enough to not go with the herd? That is amazing strength. TEACH THAT LESSON PARENTS AND TEACHERS!
“There is now so much damage done to these children and there is no way to go back and make this better for them,” said Diane Kolesar. Out of respect for you Ms. Kolesar, you are the one who is creating the “damage done to these children.” Ms. Kolesar, what basis for such a statement? There was no intent to damage the students! Darn it. The statements in the article were probably there to show the students: YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE! Ms. Kolesar, you are making these students learn, “you are the victim. You have been bullied.” When again the students were told YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PARTICIPATE. Let’s teach YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PARTICIPATE is real. And there is responsibility with that statement: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PARTICIPATE. Stand-up for yourself. Don’t be BULLIED.
Pam Brosovic added, “I asked them (administrators) to do the same thing they asked the kids to do: Stand in a circle, put a mask on and step in the circle and say all your problems.” Brosovic believes the exercise “gave the bullies ammunition.” Ms. Brosovic, bullies don’t need ammunition. The “brilliance” (mean/evil spirit) of bullies is they create the ammunition. What in the world?
I do LOVE Ms. Brosovic’s philosophy, “…to do the same thing…” ONE-HUNDRED PERCENT agreement. All teachers and administrators LEADERS should go first. And you (school officials) will still have a parent complain, “who cares what you (school officials) go through?! You are the adults. These 14-18 year-old are children.” HUGE SIGH for “14-18 year-olds are children.” You want them to be children. I want them to be closer to being adults. After all, they are closer to being adults than Kindergarteners and they are not going back in age.
“We do stand behind the intentions of our workshop and we look forward (to) continuing our work with parents to address this very serious issue of bullying and the unintentional acts that continue to marginalize different groups of students.” Absolutely. I agree with the caveat that we teach students BULLYING IS PART OF BEING A HUMAN – BAD PART. It is unfair and wrong for us to teach our children that bullying can be stopped… controlled, okay, I can agree with that, but “STOPPED.” Please. Look at the world. Do you really see bullying stopping any time soon? NO! As long as there are people, there will be bullying.
Teach / train our students to defend themselves. Teach / train our students to look at their behavior and recognize when they are being bullies. We are asking our students to learn from the best and sometimes our best just isn’t good enough. So, instead of the “STOP THE BULLYING” campaign, I would change it to: BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF THE BULLY campaign. STAND-UP FOR YOURSELF campaign. We can do those two things: BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF THE BULLY & STAND-UP FOR YOURSELF. Because there will always be bullies, we will be unsuccessful teaching: stop bullying. Sucks, but it is true.