Anyone who has personally been bullied, or has a child who has been bullied knows the emotional impact this sort of behavior can bring. Bullying has no place anywhere, and every school should do what it can to prevent any and all forms of bullying. There is no reason to tolerate bullying in the schools.
In the workplace, we are told that “harassment”, a “hostile work environment”, and “workplace violence” are completely unacceptable. Any actions even resembling these are grounds for dismissal and possible legal action. Bullying is just another term for this type of behavior. If we accept that these behaviors are unacceptable at work, why should they be acceptable at a school?
It is the school’s responsibility to look after the welfare of students while they are attending classes. Parents trust that their children are being watched by the adults at the school, and trust that they are doing everything reasonable to guard the children from illness and injury. Parents should expect that their children are safe from bullying as well.
A student needs to feel safe at school. Bullying creates feelings of fear and intimidation. No one could feel like learning in a school where the possibility of abuse and humiliation is always around the corner. To provide the best educational experience, the school should provide an atmosphere that is safe and inviting.
Schools already have rules and regulations. They have dress codes, an attendance policy, and give out detentions for all kinds of misbehavior. If they do all of this, they can certainly curtail bullying. All they need to do is define bullying, create a sensible policy, and enforce it.
Many teachers see themselves as educators, not social workers or security officers. All teachers must realize that in order to educate, a school must be run in an orderly fashion without disruption. To achieve this, they must create and enforce a code of behavior. They may need to step out of their comfort zone and keep an eye out for any signs of bullying, and then take appropriate action.
There are parents that don’t want to believe their kid is a bully. Schools may get some push back from these parents, but the schools must explain the policy to the parents and provide clear evidence of the bullying. Even if some parents resist, this issue is too important to be ignored.
Schools are responsible for the welfare of the students who come to get an education. They are also responsible for creating an appropriate environment for learning. To this end, the schools need to do everything possible to prevent bullying.