Reflecting back to events of the past couple of weeks and over the entire time I have been writing, I believe that its time to venture forth and ask, “Are the schools at fault when it comes to bullying?” Looking at the recent event in Virginia where a mother was arrested and nearly charged with a felony for putting a recording device in her daughter’s bag to find out if she was getting bullied, I would say yes in this case. The mother did try going through the correct procedure of informing the school that her daughter was being bullied but had no response. Therefore, she did what she did out of exasperation. It might not have been the right thing to do as there are lots of privacy issues here but the school failed the mother, plain and simple.
I have no doubt that if the school intervened, there would have been no need for the mother to put a recording device into her daughter’s bag. But why are schools seem to be slow or inactive in dealing with bullying? As a teacher myself, I know how overworked schools and teachers are. In many cases, they aren’t simply ignoring a bullying instance, however, they are so stressed out over their workload that it gets pushed to the back-burner. BTW, I am not using this to excuse schools for not dealing with the bullying, far from it. Bullying cases should be fast-tracked to the top of the school’s attention so it can be dealt with before too much suffering happens.
Other reasons for schools not seeming to handle bullying is the simple fact that they don’t know it’s going on. Many victims are afraid to report bullying for many reasons like looking weak, worried the school won’t take them seriously or reprisals by the bullies outside of school. Of course, some school officials and teachers bury their head in the sand because they don’t want to have to deal with it, so they pretend to know nothing about it. Then they play dumb if pulled up on it. This is wrong and what should happen more is that victims should be totally encouraged to report the bullying they suffer.
What really grinds my gears, (sorry, I’m a Family Guy fan), is how some schools over react when victims or their parents decide enough is enough and take matters into their own hands. The latest incident in Virginia is a prime example and for another good one, read my ancient post, “A Victory for the Bullies.” I theorize that schools react this way because they have been seen as not dealing with the bullying, so, because they lack evidence against the bullies, use the letter of the law to punish the victims because that victim has just embarrassed the school by highlighting the school’s inability to efficiently tackle bullying. This is lame in my view and in my opinion brings more shame upon the school.
Ideas leading to more ideas about future posts has given me inspiration here. Using the novels I popularly use, “Nineteen Minutes” by Jodi Picoult, “Endgame” by the late Nancy Garden, “Rupture” by Simon Lelic and my own novel, “He Was Weird,” all novels where bullying results in a school shooting, I will look at each story and see how well the school handled the bullying in it. I tell you now, that I’m not holding out much hope for the schools here but it should make interesting reading.
To buy He Was Weird, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Was-Weird-Lefevre-Michael-Paperback/dp/B00YRC6826/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1512406367&sr=1-3&keywords=he+was+weird