8.26.2010

Bullies

There was an article in this month's Family Circle magazine about the rise of cyber and other bullying. I'm very fortunate in that I haven't had to deal with bullies at my kids' public school. I will say, however, that we did have to deal with it at another school and it was both troubling and frustrating.

The problem with bullying, as I see it, is that many parents condone it. I'm not saying that parents are deliberately mean. I just think that many parents believe that mere "teasing" is a part of being a kid. When the behavior crosses the line, I think parents either don't see the transition or don't believe that it's a real problem. The latter was the issue in our case.

When the bullying started in our case, the behavior was considered by the parent to be part of growing up. The excuse was that everyone the kid saw did it so there was nothing that could be done until he got older - kind of the "he'll grow out of it" theory. That logic completely escapes me.

Since the parents refused to do anything about it, the entire burden of dealing with the child fell to the teachers. Eventually, the behavior stopped but not without a lot of grief in the meantime. Sadly, we all too often today have to lean on teachers - in both private and public schools - to be everything to all children when their parents won't step in and do the right thing.

In Philly, the public schools do have a bullying policy. On August 18, 2010, Superintendent Ackerman sent a letter about bullying outlining the SDP's position on on the matter. Here's the official word from the SDP web site on bullying.

3 comments:

  1. I am very interested to see if any change comes about in the SDP. I attended public school here in Philadelphia and had a positive experience. I was able to graduate at the top of my class and steer away from the negative influences. Now conversely my children (who are in 2nd and 4th grade) were assaulted in their neighborhood school within a few months of each other. The saddest part is that the adults have no accountability for the safety of the children. On both occasions no one had the decency to contact us. Not to mention that they were bullied from the moment they set foot at the school. Here we are on the first day of school and my children have not been transferred to new schools. They are again being victimized by the adults at the SDP who too easily shrug their shoulders and "do the best they can."

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  2. Wow, Anonymous, that's surprising and disturbing. The SDP claims to have a zero tolerance policy on bullying. Have you contacted the folks at the top?

    I sincerely hope you get some satisfaction - and that your kids can go to school without fear.

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  3. Unfortunately, I am sad to report that both of my children are still school-less at this point. I have a semi-promise from Ms. Williams at the Northeast Regional office that I will have some sort of information on Monday, Sept 13, 2010. I was given the contact information from the Assistant Superintendant of Academic Affairs and I left a message that was not returned prior to the break. As a full-time working professional and mom of three who has virtually no free time, this has become my third job.

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