Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Bullying...this time it's personal...

We had a pretty intense, and quite interesting discussion on pretty much every aspect of the 5 year old that was handcuffed for destroying her classroom and punching an Asst. Principal. The discussion seemed pretty evenly divided between those that thought the scare of being cuffed would be good for the out-of-control pre-pubescent --and those that urged compassion to bring about more desirable results. No matter which position you took --this one may differ because Jieesha did not harm another child. I have a feeling if she had, some opinions may have been different (especially among those of us with children). So what about the child that doesn't just destroy bulletin boards and hit Assistant Principals, but takes out their anger on other children?

"Those problems are at the heart of a proposed bill in the state legislature that would require each public school in Tennessee to adopt and enforce an anti-bullying policy. The proposal passed the state Senate on Thursday."
"This is not just an issue of 'You stay on this side of the playground and they stay on this side of the playground'," said state Sen. Diane Black, R-Hendersonville, the bill's Senate sponsor. "Children need to be aware of how to treat one another. Teachers need to be aware that if a child comes to them with a complaint, it's something they have to take seriously. Ultimately, we also want to help the bully.'" (source)

This bill will most likely pass through the Senate and be signed into Tennessee law. The question is will it do any good? We have all seen the various video tapes of the brutal school bus beatings (source) and heard the horror stories of kids being jumped after school... Do we show the same compassion to these kids that was advocated for Jieesha? Should other children have to bear the burden of poor parenting, emotional disorders or plain old bad seeds?

The Man and I are going through this right now with Justice. There is a 'bully' in his kindergarten class that pushes all the kids around (and always when the teacher isn't looking)--and even though this kid is tiny (the second smallest boy in the class) the other kids never retaliate. Justice knows that it is wrong to hit and, though The Man wants him to take the kid out, he will do nothing back for fear his teacher and I would be upset with him. I had a chance to see this kid in action at a class bowling party --and he was pushing kids against the wall and pushing, punching and kicking his father. His father is little too and I have a sneaking suspicion that the father may encourage this behavior --maybe he was picked on for being small and doesn't want his son to suffer the same fate. No one may pick on him, but no one likes him either...two weeks ago only one classmate showed up for his birthday party. I didn't even RSVP (which is very unlike me)...but I have no compassion for a child with a Napoleon complex that threatens to ruin my child's outlook on school. (Yes, I have been in to speak with the teacher and told her that if there is a new incident -with Justice or any of the children, I am going straight to the boy's parents...I will SHAME them into action if I have to).

Truthfully I don't think this bill will do anything for the kids that are actually being bullied, but at least the stories are out there and more attention is being brought to the growing problem...

No comments: