Bullying is perhaps the hot topic right now. It is tough. Tough. Tough. And I have lots of thoughts and lots of questions. But I do want to share some answers that I think can make a huge difference.
First, please read this article, Bullying Is Broken, by Matt Langdon, founder of the Hero Construction Company (and also my wonderful husband.) It is incredibly thought provoking and reveals a lot about how students think about bullying.
It is so important that there is some understanding of how our students perceive bullying in order to help prevent and stop it.
Next, we need to realize that parents and teachers cannot fix it alone. We simply cannot be everywhere at once. We cannot be in the bathrooms, on the bus, in the cafeteria, on students’ computers at home, on the playground, and in thirty other places all at the same time. We can’t see everything. And, even if we step in and try, bullies will often find a way around adults – a quiet corner, a silent text, who knows.
So what do we do? We empower the student body. Stopping bullying is a question of culture change. We need to teach children that they can stop bullies. Not necessarily one on one in a dangerous situation, but by creating a school climate where “we don’t do that.”
Bullies are powerful because they intimidate others into silence. Kids (and adults) are often so grateful that they are not being bullied, that they keep their heads down and look away when someone else is. I get this. It is scary. But it is not so scary when there is a whole school worth of students and adults that simply do not stand for it.
In our school we are trying to create change by through empowerment. Here are some photos the kids pass by every day in the hallways:
These are photos of our students and our staff at our school. This is real to them, and this is a strong statement.
Bullying is a complex problem. But it is critical that we pay attention and do what we can to help. Please have a look at the Hero Construction Company site for countless ideas on teaching students to think of themselves as heroes. Here is a video of him speaking in detail on how to create pro-hero schools instead of anti-bully schools. Have a look:
How does your school address the bullying epidemic?