Bullying: Is It Getting Worse? What Can We Do?
I might very well be opening a big can of worms by putting “bullying” in the title of this article. A hot-button issue for parents, teachers, administrators, and everyone who’s ever been to middle school, bullying is everywhere and quite possibly getting worse despite efforts to curb it.
I read a recent news story about a group of Broward County, FL middle schoolers who are writing a book about bullying that will be published and distributed to the county’s elementary schools. Their book is titled “I Was a Bully…But I Stopped.” This got me thinking about all of the anti-bullying legislation, programs, and information available today. I don’t recall that bullying was a hot topic or that this abundance of information was available when I was in middle school 500 years ago. Yet the amount of bullying and the severity of it seems to be higher than ever.
Is this a case of more publicity and awareness making a problem seem worse? I honestly don’t know. I was bullied in middle school by a group of girls and one mean boy. They made those years tortuous for me and shook my confidence to the core. No matter how much money I was offered, I would never go through middle school again. Would an anti-bullying school program or book have made them rethink their actions and stop bullying me? I don’t think so, but it might have given me the language and knowledge to get some adult help with my problem. Maybe that’s enough.
At TCI, we believe that teachers should create a cooperative, tolerant classroom environment, and we provide steps and tools for the process. If kids had more classrooms in which they felt safe, respected, and known, would bullying decrease?
What are your thoughts? Has bullying increased? Are current programs addressing it? What has your school done in this area?