How to Quickly Put a Stop to Bullying in Your Classroom!
As an educator, you have a duty to protect your students while they are in your care, and unfortunately, this oftentimes means protecting them from each other. Bullying is prevalent in schools today, and many schools, in fact, have a huge problem with it. Bullies can make other student's lives completely miserable, causing them to dread coming to school where they are faced with jabs and taunts that are both physical and mental or emotional in nature. Students who are victimized by bullies often expend a great deal of their energy worrying about being bullied and afraid of the bully than focusing on their studies. And deep emotional scars from bullying can carry over into their adult lives, hampering their ability to become productive, confident, and mentally-healthy individuals.
Bullying can take two basic forms, and often goes well beyond a simple case of playground arguments. And although physical bullying is the most evident and readily obvious form of bullying, emotional bullying involves taunts and teasing that can be even more detrimental than the fear of physical harm, or the physical harm itself. And with the new face of communication, bullying can also be pulled off in midair via harassing and mean text messages and forwards. Recognizing bullying is the fundamental part of stopping it.
It is important to watch for signs of bullying in your students, especially since many kids are apprehensive to discuss the bullying because they are ashamed, afraid, or both. And most students won't report incidences of bullying among their peers because of the fear of being labeled as a "snitch", or that the bully will seek revenge against them. The three most common signs of bullying include the unexpected and abrupt appearance of scratches, scrapes, bruises or cuts, unexplainable and sudden reluctance to go to school, and emotional withdrawal.
If you find discover that a student in your school is being bullied, the first step that must be taken is to notify the principle or disciplinary figure at your school. Talk to the child who has been bullied, and assure him or her that it is not their fault. Encourage the student that is being bullied to cooperate with school officials, and talk to the child's parents about the bullying incidence(s). Keeping an open dialogue is important, and it is also important that violence is not countered by more violence, which simply perpetuates a cycle. Hopefully, with watchful supervision, bullying can be controlled or eliminated in our school systems, but it literally does "take a village" to counter the problem. Toleration of bullying has gone on unchecked for a long time in many areas of the country and in many schools, but that trend is reversing. Many states now have legal ramifications for bullying. As an example, the Commonwealth of Kentucky recently passed the Golden Rule Act (HB 91) that makes bullying punishable by law, with charges ranging from harassment to harassing communication. Physical bullying can be considered as an assault.
As an educator, you can be the eyes and ears that can turn bullying around and make schools safer for everyone in attendance.