Those of you in the US probably have experiences of school safeties when you were in school. Maybe you were one yourself. For those who haven’t had the experience, safeties, like the ones pictured here, were supposed to make sure the younger children crossed the street safely and ensured the school rules were followed. They were the ones a child to go to if they needed help for anything. They were the ones who were supposed to protect children from bullies. However, what if the safeties were bullies themselves?
I remember a teacher once gave a rather accurate description of the attitudes of safeties. She said, “They would mow down the little kids but were afraid of the big kids.” To an extent, I saw that to be the case. Safeties would report the younger child for the slightest infraction but turn a blind eye if one of the older children committed such a bigger one. This was especially true in the case of bullying where the older children could make other children’s lives a misery and the safety would do nothing. In some cases, the safety would join in. See, the problem with safeties is that because they have a little authority, they would use it as a license to bully, threatening to get the victims in trouble with teachers for their own amusement and the teachers always seemed to side with the safeties.
I give you now for your reading pleasure a short story of safety bullying. It could be argued that the story takes it to the extreme, but does it? Read for yourself.
Mark experiences two episodes of unprofessional safety behaviour in “He Was Weird.” In one case, when he is beaten up and his bike totalled, the safety waits until the damage is done and the aggressors gone before he intervenes. Later, the safety uses the excuse that he wanted to make the charge stick to justify his late intervention. In another, when Mark throws his glasses across the playground in frustration at being attacked by other children, he is the one who gets reported by the safety. In both cases, his experiences were mine. In the second case, when I was reported to the teacher, she didn’t want to hear my side of the story, all she cared about was that I had been the first person reported to her in many years by a safety. Her unblemished record was now blemished.
I’m not saying all school safeties act like this or are bullies in disguise. However, there are enough who are and that is something that needs to be addressed.
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