A Plan to Stop Bullying in Schools


 

Are They Growing Up While You're on Your Phone?

In Bullying has a New Face, I discussed the issue of bullying and how, particularly in this digital age when bullies can come right into your children’s rooms, it has become even more serious.  While physical bullying is bad enough, psychological bullying can lead to suicides or mass shootings like Columbine.  Girls will even encourage other girls to commit suicide and laugh when they do.

But how can this be stopped?  The trouble is that a lot of this bullying comes in the form of spreading false rumors in person and by social media.  How do you stop children from spreading these rumors, particularly when their parents don’t care and it comes from a large group?  In a case with an actually suicide or many months of taunting you might be able to sue the parents for slander or liable if you save the texts (and some parents really should to create some fear in parents of bullies), but for many cases it would be difficult to get a court to take the matter seriously.

A clue to a solution lies in looking at the mechanics of verbal bullying.  It usually starts with some mean girls or boys who feel somehow inferior.  They feel they need to insult others to make themselves look better to impress a group.  There will always probably be people like this.  These kids create a culture where they are “cool” because they are the ones spreading the rumors and teasing the others.  There are a few kids that the other just find to be naturally cool, but many in this clique get there by joining together to pick on other kids.  They come up with absurd ideas of what makes you cool.  (Note, if you feel that buying designer labels and new cars is needed to make you feel cool, you are still being influenced by this culture.)

There are a few children who are the main targets of the bullying.  This is usually because they are perceived as different somehow or because they have a strong reaction.  Most of the children outside of the main clique of students is bullied somehow, but a few get most of the attention.  Note that schools aid in causing the bullying by having popularity competitions like prom queens and letting groups like cheer leading be dominated by girls in the cliques.

Now there is a very important effect that allows the bullies to have power.  When one child is being picked on by the mean girls and boys, many of the others will stop associating with the targets of the abuse.  They do this to be thought of as “cool” by the bullies and also to avoid being the target of the bullying themselves.  Girls will ostracize the girls being harassed so that they will not be harassed themselves, which is particularly sad since the girls being abused the most then have no one to support them.  Changing this behavior is the key to stopping the bullying.

If you think of the movie, A Bugs Life, you saw the ants being dominated by the grasshoppers.  While the ants outnumbered the grasshoppers in numbers and could easily have torn the grasshoppers to shreds if they attacked altogether (which is what real ants do), the ones in this story cowered in fear and let the grasshoppers hurt their kin because they didn’t want to be victims of the abuse as well.  This is exactly what happens with bullying where most people stand by or shun the victim (or even join in the harassment) to avoid being targets themselves.

To stop the bullying, we need to teach children to immediately join together against bullies when they appear.  Girls and boys should make an agreement to not tolerate any abuse of members of the group and say something immediately if it occurs.  If a girl makes a mean comment against another or starts a rumor,  we need ten or twenty girls to immediately rebuke her and ostracize her until she stops the abusive behavior.  If a boy taunts another, we need five other boys to stand up and tell the bully that his actions are unacceptable. This could be supported by the teachers, parents, and school administrators who would also make it clear to the bully that the behavior was unacceptable.  In this scenario, the bullies would be stopped immediately and quickly learn to change their behavior or be ostracized from the group.

Of course one would need to be careful to prevent the past victims from becoming the bullies.  Once a child has stopped the abusive behavior, forgiveness and acceptance should be given.  Disagreements or debating should also not be seen as bullying – only personal insults and the spreading of rumors.

So how to start?  Parents can ask girls to talk to their friends and make agreements to support each other should bullying start.  School officials could call school assemblies where the victims of bullying tell their stories and the students could be asked to pledge to stand with their classmates whenever bullying starts and tell teachers and school staff immediately.  This could be reinforced in classes where students could be asked to renew their pledge and to discuss any examples of bullying that had been seen during the week.  School officials should be particularly watchful at school events, lunch, and recess since this is often where abuse occurs.

We can stop bullying.  We just need to get kids to act together to stop it the minute it starts.  Bullies give themselves power and can only grow more powerful if others stand by and don’t help.  Let’s stop bullying in schools today.

Got and investing question? Please send it to vtsioriginal@yahoo.com or leave in a comment.

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Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice. It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment?

Contact me at vtsioriginal@yahoo.com

Follow on Twitter to get news about new articles. @SmallIvy_SI

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice. It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.

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