Social Question

KidCurtis's avatar

What are some steps that schools and communities can take to minimize bullying in schools?

Asked by KidCurtis (1075points) November 2nd, 2011

There has been a lot of talk about bullying in the media as of late, Obama held a White House conference on bullying prevention a few months back and various campaigns against it and I was just wondering what do you think would be some good ways to go about reducing bullying within schools here in America.

Do you agree or disagree with the general trend of increased involvment with law enforcement for cases of bullying or do you think that bullying should be handled by the schools unless there are severe circumstances?

Do you think that more stringent speech codes similar to what is seen in some universities would improve the situation or make things worse?

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9 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

Provide a whole lot more supervision, and enough varied activities to keep the students busy.

JLeslie's avatar

I think it starts at home. The bullying kids probably many times have bullying parents or are neglected or just very unhappy and angry for some reason.

Of course, we cannot hope parents and families just change, so as far as the schools go, from kindergarten we should be teaching kindness. I really think it is i portant to start young. Bullying should be met head on by faculty, and I am ok with the police being brought into the situation, but I don’t want a kid just thrown in juvy or anything so extreme. Maybe the child being escorted home by the cops and talking to the parents. The risk is if the child is physical in his bullying, there is a good chance his parents are physically abusive, and then the child might really get it. He might be beaten for beating another child.

I agree with @YARNLADY about more supervision, but I am not sure how realistic that is as children get older. Keeping them busy is good too.

What speech code at universities?

whitetigress's avatar

Send out a Zero Tolerance flier telling families to explain to their kids that they better not bully others, there is no place for people like that in society, and tell them that bullies end up in jail/prison and work community colleges with out pay. Communities could have more neighborhood parties, like in the Sand Lot during 4th of July.

KidCurtis's avatar

@JLeslie These are excerpts from Harvard University’s Free Speech Guidelines as an example as to what I mean as speech codes:

“There are obligations of civility and respect for others that underlie rational discourse. Racial, sexual, and intense personal harassment not only show grave disrespect for the dignity of others, but also prevent rational discourse. Behavior evidently intended to dishonor such characteristics as race, gender, ethnic group, religious belief, or sexual orientation is contrary to the pursuit of inquiry and education. Such grave disrespect for the dignity of others can be punished under existing procedures because it violates a balance of rights on which the University is based.”

“Free speech is uniquely important to the University because we are a community committed to reason and rational discourse. Free interchange of ideas is vital for our primary function of discovering and disseminating ideas through research, teaching, and learning. Curtailment of free speech undercuts the intellectual freedom that defines our purpose. It also deprives some individuals of the right to express unpopular views and others of the right to listen to unpopular views.

Because no other community defines itself so much in terms of knowledge, few others place such a high priority on freedom of speech. As a community, we take certain risks by assigning such a high priority to free speech. We assume that the long-term benefits to our community will outweigh the short-term unpleasant effects of sometimes-noxious views. Because we are a community united by a commitment to rational processes, we do not permit censorship of noxious ideas. We are committed to maintaining a climate in which reason and speech provide the correct response to a disagreeable idea.

Members of the University do not share similar political or philosophical views, nor would such agreement be desirable. They do share, however, a concern for the community defined in terms of free inquiry and dissemination of ideas. Thus, they share a commitment to policies that allow diverse opinions to flourish and to be heard. In the words of the Resolution on Rights and Responsibilities, the University must protect “the rights of its members to organize and join political associations, convene and conduct public meetings, publicly demonstrate and picket in orderly fashion, advocate and publicize opinion by print, sign, and voice.”

JLeslie's avatar

@KidCurtis In elementary school my gym teacher used to just talk to the class about the golden rule. More importantly our teachers treated us with respect and expected us to treat each other with respect. I only can think of two specific instances of bullying/teasing when I was in elementary school. One of the times I had joined in, I was very young and it was where I lived, not at school, anyway I joined in with other girls who were being mean to a girl named Elizabeth. My mom stepped in when she saw it happening and verbally scolded the girls, and then on the way back to our apartment she reiterated to me how mean it was. I was very very young, but I remember it. I remember feeling awful that I had hurt her feelings and dissappointed my mother, I don’t remember exactly what my mom had said. I never did anything like that again. That is what needs to happen. It’s like these kids have no conscience. When I was older, jr high and high school, I was competely unaware if it happened at all. But, I am a girl, and maybe it happens more among boys? Not sure.

KidCurtis's avatar

@JLeslie I can’t remember who wrote it but I remember reading that each new generation is an invasion of little barbarians who must be civilized before it’s too late (or something to that effect) and your story really reaffirms that sentiment to me. People aren’t born with a conscience or morals, those are developed within individuals which is exemplified by how your mother stepped in, stopped the bullying and told you the error of your ways.

Children in my eyes are like kites being blown around in the air by the winds of right and wrong and it’s the job of the adults in their lives to guide them in the right direction. The family part of the issue is somewhat muddled because obviously it’s the family’s job to make sure that their child is raised properly and even more obviously there are many families out there who at least seem incapable of raising a child. This begs the question as to how much schools should be allowed to influence the upbringing of the child but that’s not something that I ever think there’ll be a definitive answer to.

I believe that faculty should be able to deal with bullying decisively but the problem is that to do so in many cases could lead to a lawsuit for the school and because of this inability to take effective action against bullying it seems that there’s a greater need for outside help on the issue namely law enforcement. I personally don’t agree with law enforcement stepping in for what would be considered normal cases of bullying, I’ve seen it happen when I was in school (was brought up in one of the zero tolerance school districts in Texas) and I don’t think that it helps the issue to treat bullies like criminals and lock them up (which is what they did there). I think your suggestion as to having police take the child out of school and talk to the parents would be a good thing in most cases though. As to giving educators increased power to discipline children it could obviously be a double edged sword i.e. educators abusing that power for one reason or the other but I do think overall it would produce a better result than increased police involvment.

I’m in complete agreement that there’s a dire need for a bigger emphasis on respect and kindness to be instilled in children attending schools from an early age as well.

JLeslie's avatar

@KidCurtis I don’t know what you mean by schools cannot discipline? Certainly a teacher can tell a child it is unnacceptable to tease another child. Children can serve detention, or send a child to the principals office. The child can be asked to apologize to the child they have harmed. Teachers can specifically tell children what is expected of them. Keep their hands to themselves, to treat others as they would want to be treated.

perspicacious's avatar

I thought we outlawed bully questions.

ucme's avatar

I read somewhere recently that a report into school policy on bullying found some schools here in england town to be sorely lacking in that department. One school had a teacher who advised kids who were bullied to “act less gay”!?! Or to “wear their hair differently.”
I mean, that’s just plain ignorance & shows complete apathy to the victims plight.

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